Banks & Co gets closer to clients with Online 50

Berkshire-based chartered certified accountants, Banks & Co has introduced a web-based accounting service using the Online50 Accounting service. Gail Purvis reports.

The firm’s Online50 Accounting service allows clients to enter transactions online through the Banks & Co website, via a secure internet connection. The accountants process the raw data, “topping and tailing” it where where necessary, to produce up-to-date accounts accessible anywhere, anytime.

For clients and advisers, this approach means business data can be available continuously - making it possible for the accountants to offer real-time advice.

“We always try to give our clients as much help and advice as possible, but in the past this advice had usually been in hindsight, based on historical data. With Online50, we can monitor business accounts in real time and offer advice on their current position, which can really make a difference,” explained Banks & Co partner Mark Taylor.

The need to work more closely with clients drove the adoption of online accounting and has allowed the firm to add value to client businesses by cutting out the transfer and reloading of information, Taylor explained.

"“Many of our clients are either owned and managed from abroad or by directors who travel away from their office,” Taylor said. “Our first client was based in Switzerland. The FD came to the UK for two days a months. He now runs his monthly management accounts from his office in Zurich and achieves a very significant saving in time and costs,” Taylor said.

The firm considered other options, but went with the hosted Sage 50 solution from Online 50 because the approach of the people behind it mirrored the firm’s. “Many of our existing clients use a Sage platform. We are looking at others and may, where appropriate add more applications,” Taylor said.

“Our clients have direct access to the software. We also have access to their records and are able to enter such things as journal adjustments. The client benefits from the most up to date version of the software. Their financial records, which they can access 24/7 anywhere in the world, are hosted in a secure environment off site.”