Ryan Pearcy, a Director in Scrutton Bland’s Business Advisory department explains what it means to go digital and how it can give businesses an edge.
The “cloud” has become the buzzword for industry with software providers such as Xero revolutionising the way business owners manage their finances and day-to-day operations.
Typing up the books, which was once an annoying manual task, is now something that is completed on the go. Industry specific systems allow businesses to utilise user friendly processes to streamline their internal operations and provide value-added reports and efficiencies. Simply put, if you don’t have a cloud-based system you are at a disadvantage to your competitors.
Scrutton Bland has been offering a cloud-based service called sblive, running for over two years with the service having been shortlisted for a major accountancy award in 2017.
Many accountancy firms are pushing cloud, how is sblive different?
sblive was an early adopter of cloud-based systems which has allowed the team to develop the offering beyond the basic software package. We know that every business is different and a generic package won’t necessarily improve how a business operates. We have therefore used our years of experience and internal expertise to provide a bespoke offering which seeks to maximise artificial intelligence, automate processes, and provide smart information that drives business decisions and allow business owners to focus on their day job without getting bogged down in background operations.
This all sounds very clever, but isn’t cloud accounting complicated to use?
Cloud products are designed for the user and so are generally intuitive. Where clients have any queries we ensure our staff are suitably trained and available for support. The software market leaders also operate “smart” systems to automate processes, which learn over time and can help to reduce your workload. The ability to access the software from anywhere, via the internet, allows businesses to work on the move and at a time which suits them. Your finances can effectively be completed anywhere and at any time by using desktop computers, tablets or smartphone apps.
With the advent of Making Tax Digital, how do you think this will affect businesses?
Making Tax Digital (MTD) effectively means that all businesses will have to utilise digital software. Any business not already on accounting software should be looking to adopt digital systems as soon as possible if they are to ensure a smooth transition in readiness for when MTD comes into force. Businesses on desktop software should also use this operational change to review their digital systems and see if there is a better solution out there for them.
With the effective start date for MTD being April 2019 many businesses may be tempted to implement any software changes nearer the deadline. This will effectively create a stampede of businesses looking to make the conversion. With limited resources there is the chance that advisory firms will be unable to cope and potentially push up prices for this service, or even worse turn businesses away. We strongly advise business owners to plan for this and ensure they early adopt or lock a plan in place.
Do you believe cloud accounting is the future?
No, I believe that cloud accounting is now - if you are not on a cloud system you are at a disadvantage to your competitors, who have greater efficiencies and better data allowing them to devote more time to generating income.