By Jim Scott, MD for Accountancy at IRIS Software Group
Accountants have faced a number of challenges since the start of COVID-19. The sudden shift to remote working and changing customer demands meant many had to adopt new ways of working, fast.
Added to this, businesses have needed additional support to prepare for phase two of the evolving Making Tax Digital (MTD) legislative changes and will continue to need expert advice from accountants ahead of the next phases in 2022 and 2023.
As we emerge from the pandemic, accountants will play a critical role in their clients’ economic bounce back. There’s a real opportunity for accountants too – to unlock their practice’s full potential by nurturing their clients’ growth. As with happy clients, business growth soars.
By taking these small steps and creating better efficiencies for clients, accountants can gain the headspace needed to grow their own firms.
Focus on the specifics
Accountants need to be efficient, accurate, compliant, and productive to best help their clients. This requires the right tools – enter cloud technology, this can become an accountant’s most powerful weapon. Not only can it drive efficiencies by reducing technical complexity, increasing agility and supporting flexible working, it can also improve accountants’ ability to rapidly respond to changing customer needs.
For example, a huge task for any practice is recording business purchase orders, invoices and expense receipts. Whether a sole trader or limited company with many employees, submitting and recording receipts is a time-consuming and arduous task. Leading many accountants to fall into the trap of becoming preoccupied with lower value actions.
One extremely effective tool to combat this is record digitalisation, stored in the cloud. This tool can streamline lengthy admin tasks like tracking client receipts, capturing photos and digitally processing receipts, invoices, purchase orders and bank statements. This frees up accountants’ schedules, enabling them to respond to impromptu client requests and deliver value-add services.
It also allows for valuable collaboration with colleagues that can benefit practice operations in the long run. By minimising the occurrence of incomplete records or lost receipts and invoices by ‘snapping’ all records as they arise, standards can remain high and expectations can be met on a continuous basis.
Cloud technology is also hugely beneficial in staying compliant with and managing MTD. Through harnessing a cloud approach, accountants can not only streamline services, but also act smart and respond flexibly to changing requirements as they happen. Freed from time-consuming admin-based tasks, accountants can focus on more value-add services like advisory, which will ultimately help them cross-sell services to existing clients and grow their business.
The key to unlocking potential
Happy clients equal happy business. So, for accountants looking to unlock their full potential, it’s essential they get this right.
Adopting cloud software can play a huge role in empowering accountants to work smarter, not harder. It gives them the headspace they need to meet their goals today and tomorrow and focus on what they love and do best – supporting clients. Only then can they grow with confidence and thrive moving into the next normal.