For some time, all the chat among accountants has been about the cloud – getting your business’s books online, so you can access your management information any time, any place.
We don’t disagree that the cloud is a great innovation – indeed the take-up rate for Quickbooks and Xero among our small business customers has been very rapid - but the cloud isn’t the be all and end all. At least not for us.
Have you ever tried to call your bank, or your mobile provider – or even HMRC – only to be stuck in “call waiting” purgatory? It’s not great, is it? At Scholes CA we think that entrepreneurs still want, and really value, a relationship with their accountants that is more personal and immediate. Sure, we use technology to make the things we do for you more efficient. But not at the expense of very real, human relationships built on mutual trust and respect.
Here are five really important things your accountant can do for you, that the cloud can’t (at least, not yet):
Forecast your business cashflows
Cloud bookkeeping systems are great at telling you what has happened in your business. Want to know how much profit you made in the last quarter? No problem. Keen to check your bank balance? No worries, here it is. But, ask your software to project your cashflow or working capital requirements for the next few months? Er, no. That’s where your experienced accountant comes in, testing and challenging your assumptions and using judgement and experience to arrive at some credible and robust predictions.
Do some clever tax planning
There are, as yet, no cloud or artificial intelligence systems capable of undertaking reliable effective tax planning for you or your business. There are just too many variables for the computer to consider: your personal aspirations; business goals; attitude to risk; your family’s financial position; your lifestyle. And anyway, would you really trust a computer to make decisions on these issues?
Build your business plan
Effective business planning is a prerequisite for sustained success. Not the bit of paper that comes out at the end of the process; rather, the systematic and disciplined consideration of your organisational culture, goals, strategy, risks, and actions. No cloud system I know of effectively identify or evaluate all the business growth opportunities you come across. But your accountant can help you do this. Check out our Guide to Growth for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs for more details.
Negotiate with the taxman
HMRC may love their technology, but when it comes down to a tax enquiry, it’s still an official knocking on your door, not R2D2. Having your accountant sat at the table with you will be a sensible move as officers of HMRC are, unsurprisingly, well versed in UK tax law.
Provide a sympathetic ear
Ultimately, as accountants we are human (this may come as a surprise to some of you but it’s true, honestly!). We are also business people, so we have experienced many of the same highs and lows, challenges and problems that you have faced. We can empathise with your business problems and share our own experience and insight of how to come out the other side, ready to fight another day. Show me a cloud system that can do that… and just I won’t believe you.
At Scholes CA we are quietly working away on our own vision of the way we want to support ambitious small businesses. Personal, human relationships are at the core of our approach – we’ll use technology to support small businesses, but it isn’t the panacea for all ills. If you are an ambitious entrepreneur and you believe what we believe, contact us today.