On Thursday 30 July, AccountingWEB.co.uk and IRIS Exchequer teamed up to host an online business clinic based on the biggest issues facing community members in the recession. John Stokdyk presents a brief summary of the ideas that emerged.
More than 60 AccountingWEB.co.uk members registered for the Question Time-style Protect your Profit seminar, and like the TV show that inspired it, the debate was shaped by the issues put forward by AccountingWEB.co.uk members. These included:
- Protecting your bottom line and managing costs
- Streamlining business processes
- Justifying technology investments, sourcing finance and building the business case.
Before fielding questions, the three panellists set out their guiding principles:
- Richard Murphy: Well known to AccountingWEB.co.uk members for his campaigning work with the Tax Justice Network, Richard keeps his hand in as a business adviser and was previously the founding director of the company that brought Trivial Pursuit to Europe. These experiences emerged during the session as Richard lived up to his reputation for putting forward thought-provoking ideas. “Accountants have two roles: one to provide the data; and two to get off the fence and decide what you’re going to do with it,” he said.
- Paul Sparkes product director of IRIS Accounting and Business Solutions has experience helping hundreds of successful businesses streamline their processes. “More than ever before it’s important to plan,” he said. “If you don’t plan properly then you can’t expect to get the results and improvements people are looking for today.”
- Genesis Capital managing director Matthew Porton sees his mission as helping companies to find funding to fix problems before they escalate. He urged participants to bear in mind the value that is generated by the costs within the business. “For every cost there is usually a value associated with it. It’s important where you prioritise your cuts to consider the consequences of making those cuts rather than taking a blanket approach,” he said.
The conversation ranged across the nuts and bolts issues raised by seminar participants, but the panellists emphasised it was as important for accountants to look outward at business opportunties and what drove the company's underlying valuation as it was for them to keep a tight grip on costs and internal processes.
There are certainly a lot of inefficiencies and a lack of control of the controllables, Porton said, but the main reason companies failed was becasue “they don’t sell enough.”
To view the podcast 'Protect your Profit' seminar click here.