No-one can be expected to predict the future – but as tech-savvy human beings, we must always keep up to date with the pace of technology. We must constantly evolve as quickly as we can to avoid being left behind. Managing a business is no different: being behind means being out of business.
I’ve run an international accountancy practice and a consultancy for over 10 years. It’s offered me and my team a few clues on how to keep up with changes naturally. The stereotype of accountants as old men with calculators – wearing funny hats and surrounded by piles of paper – is a thing of the past. Yet, sadly enough, I have visited some accountants who have neither modernised nor improved the service they offer their clients. I am using the word “client” because accountants tend to see this as a client/service transaction. We don’t. A good accountancy practice should not be solely concerned with the services it provides to its clientele; it should also be concerned with client growth, client comfort and providing a problem/stress free client experience.
A stress and problem free experience is the main reason business owners trust their accountants. They become trusted advisers and professional individuals that can always be relied upon. We expect more from our accountants than the preparation of company accounts at the end of the financial year. We do not consider them only when we need to submit our self-assessment tax return. Our accountant should be also able to also assist us as follows:
- Online bookkeeping. Once upon a time, there was no internet. Clients had to bring all their paperwork in hardcopy (invoices, receipts and bank statements), for accountants to input the data manually in an accounting system – just to prepare a simple balance sheet! Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with using a paper system, but most businesses can benefit from switching to an online cloud solution. We offer a system called Vertice Plus – you can read more about that specifically here: http://verticeservices.com/vertice-plus. There are numerous advantages to such systems:
- You get an online dashboard view of how your business is doing which is available 24 hours a day.
- You can keep track of your business income and profitability in real time.
- Your company account will be automatically connected to the system.
- You can raise and email invoices instantly through the interface.
- You will always have your profit and loss up-to-date and available for viewing.
- You have instant access to support from your accountant. This means your accountant can offer advice on transactions even as they occur. This is what I call a Live Accountant.
- Mortgage advice: Anyone giving mortgage advice should have a licence to do so. At Vertice Services we have our own licensed mortgage advisers ready to assist you to apply for both residential and commercial mortgages.
- Gone is the time when you would simply receive a call from your bank manager offering a company loan. There are more than 30 alternatives to bank loans and your accountant should be able to advise you on what is most suitable for your needs. At Vertice Services we assist our clients with secured and unsecured loans – in the last 24 months we’ve helped 53 clients raise the finances they needed to grow or start their businesses.
- Other financial services: Applying for a business loan is not always the ideal solution. Sometimes directing your client to an invoice discounting system or other form of financial assistance is more appropriate.
- Business consultancy: This is where we separate the wheat from the chaff. The best accountants are the ones who are able to help you grow your business, always giving you the right support. This could take the form of networking (introducing the company own clients to each other), information (articles and proper advice) or high quality orientation and consultancy.
I hope this gives you more of an idea of what you should expect from the new generation of accountants.