Friday 12 June 2020 10:02 amApater Capital Talk

Is a virtual world the new norm for SME Accounting?

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David joined innovation focused Private Equity house Apater Capital as Finance Director to strategically manage the financial vision of the business.

It does seem hard to apply a history lesson to this in such a strange time that we have seen over the last 3 months. However, if you look back over the last 30 years in accounting the trend would suggest that we have already made a huge leap to a virtual position from an SME financial management perspective. 

30 years ago

  • Everyone worked 9-5 from a fixed desk
  • Accounting software was supplied as a CD and loaded onto a local machine
  • Accounts were prepared and stored locally then filed annually in one go
  • No businesses could look forward, they were constantly looking at their books in the rear-view mirror

10 years ago

  • We saw the dawn of the new era with three companies starting their journey to digitalise accounting, Xero, Easy Accounting and Liberty Accounts. 
  • We have seen a huge change in accounting strategy including
  • More work completed outside of office hours
  • Remote bookkeeping 
  • Accounts prepared more real time
  • A little more visibility and the ability to plan 

Just over a 1 year ago

  • Making tax digital brought a huge change as all companies that are registered for VAT had to start filing digital returns and this accelerated the evolution and move towards a virtual accounting world
  • All accounting systems are now cloud based 
  • Apps connected to the software to increase efficiency and paperless working 
  • Businesses can plan, forecast, and understand their numbers can be looking forward instead of backwards
  • On and offsite bookkeeping are now real choices instead of having to employ an internal team and incur the fixed costs

Now

The virtual world exists and that is forcing business owners to lean on their Accountants more to deliver virtual bookkeeping, management information and FD services. Leveraging technology as a business owner you can view your accounts anywhere, add receipts digitally, view reports and manage finances without leaving the home-work place. 

What next?

Lowering fixed costs all round, less office space, less staff working in fixed locations and a lot more business being conducted with the use of technology. Extending this a step further it would then result in lowering in expenses and no doubt all companies will have to start thinking about how to create an ‘oyster’ tap in and out service as we evolve and come out of the lockdown. I would imagine that this will transform travel, accommodation and traditional service costs for those working in major cities. 

Positive outcome

I see a lowering of costs for a typical SME, a better work / life balance, and maybe a greater appreciation of positive contact with others and face to face meetings will be even more meaningful.

Summary

  • Leverage technology
  • Cut non-essential costs
  • Review working practices
  • Connect with your network and gain any savings or increase in revenue you possibly can.
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