Alistair Barlow - Co-founder of flinder - on achieving accounting excellence with technology

27th Jan 2021
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In this interview with Alastair Barlow - Co-founder of flinder - he shares his view on technology and its place within the accounting space, and offers insightful tips on how flinder evaluates software to continually maintain excellence in their endeavours.

flinder is an accounting and management consulting firm based in London, UK. The founding team at flinder have a collective background of more than 25 years of experience, giving clients access to the expertise of top tier accounting and consulting firm at the price and speed of a more understanding boutique provider.

Q: Where do you see technology going in the UK in the industry?

There’s huge momentum growing here in the UK with embracing the cloud and the ACCA are doing a fantastic job at getting that message out to their members and move up the technology curve.

Q: Would you consider yourself an early adopter of technology?

Yes we are early adopters, but we’re always trying to challenge what’s possible in accountancy. We founded flinder on the principle of delivering insight, aligning KPIs to strategy and real time accountancy information. For us, it’s not just about what’s happened, but also asking why things have happened - those insights help a business. We’re constantly trying to push the envelope on using technology, how we use it and what we deliver to clients, creating this new category of accounting and performance management as a result.

Q: What are your views on technology in relation to your job function?

For me, technology is just an enabler. It’s about being more efficient, better controlled, and delivering more insights for our clients. 

The most important part about technology is the data it can provide because if we harness data, you have valuable insight to provide clients with. It’s hugely important to the future of accountancy.

Q: How often do you review your technology stack?

We review technology very often for our business but also for our clients. I’m always looking for better tools that will give us an advantage. One of our five values at flinder is entrepreneurialism so that for us means continually challenging processes, asking questions that might lead to marginal gains or improvements and a lot of that is around technologies. Continually looking for better ways of doing things. The attributes we consider for are:

  • Can something make us more efficient?
  • Can it make us better controlled?
  • How can we better leverage data to build a better set of insights for our clients?
  • Ultimately, how can we deliver better value to our clients?

We’ll also do a tech review on software and cross it off if it's not good or what we need.

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With a one-off set up accountants can run payroll for hundreds of director clients at the same time, eliminating the time spent clicking buttons or sending reports and emails each pay run. Saving hours of manual work each month, your firm can use this time to take on new clients, drive revenue, and focus on more complex payroll.