How To Put Innovation At The Heart Of Your Accountancy Firm

22nd May 2020
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An innovative approach is just as important - and beneficial - for accountancy firms as any other organisation. It allows for a chance to look strategically at the service you offer your clients, as well as how to provide the broadest range of services for best value going forward. It’s also a good way of streamlining business procedures and weeding out methods that are inefficient.

But innovation takes time, and requires imagination, time and resource. The way your firm approaches innovation will also depend on a number of factors, including size, ethos and customer base. Indeed, there’s no “one size fits all”.

Improve on what you already do well

A good place to start innovating is by looking closely (and critically) at the services your firm already offers. What is already done well and where are the weaknesses? There are also a number of software solutions available that can increase efficiency, saving you time and effort.

Once you’ve had a ‘stock take’ to reflect where you are currently, then you can start considering additional services. For instance, with a more efficient data entry process you’ll free up time to spend with clients on other things they really need. It’s important to consider new innovations that you can run with today, as well as planning potential new ones for future. But make sure you don’t stand still! Innovation should be a process, and something that is regularly revisited.

Have an adaptable mindset

When it comes to innovation, half the battle is in changing company culture. Some people embrace change whilst others shy away from it, but only by approaching innovation with an open mind and a willingness to adapt can firms of all types and sizes make progress. The market is highly competitive and outdated technology or inefficient ways of working will put you at a serious disadvantage as clients vote with their feet.

Obviously every accountancy firm will have different ideas about what innovation looks like for them. But as long as you have a clear strategy for improvement over time, you’re more likely to be successful.

Embrace new technologies

As we alluded to briefly above, modern technology is your friend. Have a close look at existing processes and ask yourself if there is any way they can be automated to boost efficiency. Even for processes that have been automated for some time, it’s well worth revisiting them to see if there’s anything better. Virtual document storage and Cloud accounting for example both bring additional security and efficiency to your offering, and there’s a wealth of online tools to help with organisation and productivity. These days, electronic accounting is king as it reduces errors, brings more accurate accounting and offers a more streamlined end to end service. Ignore this technology at your peril!

Top tip: Check out the software your competitors are using, and see if they are offering services over and above yours. You may also find it useful to join some online networking groups with accountancy businesses of similar sizes, to discuss challenges the industry is currently facing.

Use all the communication tools you can

When COVID-19 came out of the blue, many of us were forced to continue our work from home, making tools like Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp and Skype essential. Not only have these tools kept businesses ticking over, they’ve allowed for the safe continuance of face-to-face communication. This is vital when discussing difficult financial topics or when dealing with sensitive data or complex issues. It also maintains that friendly ‘human’ connection, and gives the chance to offer financial advice in real time.

The chance to spend more time building customer trust and delivering helpful advice exactly when clients need it is the route to success, particularly at the moment. By making use of a range of communication tools you’ll open doors in understanding your clients’ unique requirements and objectives better, which will only serve to strengthen customer loyalty going forward. Additionally, a more streamlined admin process means a reduced margin for error, and less time spent on the day to day details that all too easily take up too much of your time.

Finally, the inclusion of better communication tools allows for the cultivation of a more open, transparent accountant/client relationship. This in turn empowers clients to better understand the financial and tax obligations of their company, which supports their business as a whole.

Don’t forget - innovation can mean R&D Tax Credits!

Any UK company that has invested in scientific or technological research recently may well be eligible for R&D Tax Credits, regardless or industry or sector.

Essentially, the government has long encouraged growth in boosting the UK economy. It therefore launched its research and development Tax Credits scheme to reimburse some of the costs involved.

The way it works is by reducing a company’s liability for Corporation Tax (if the company is profitable) or by administering a cash lump sum for those that are not. The scope of eligible R&D projects and costs is extremely wide; as long as a financial risk has been taking in making scientific or technological progress in some way then a claim is likely. This could be developing a new product, service or process for instance, or enhancing an existing one.

It doesn’t even matter if the project was unsuccessful as a claim could still result. Plus, with the relief on offer worth as much as 33 pence in every £1 of R&D expenditure, it’s an incredibly generous scheme too.

As a trusted business accountancy firm, it’s well worth reading up on our R&D Tax Credits page, especially in these challenging times. We also recommend taking a look at our recent blog Easy Mistakes That Accountancy Firms Make Regarding R&D Tax Credits.

Contact us

The team at Myriad Associates deals solely in the field of R&D tax relief and will work alongside you in offering a fully guided claims service. Call us today on 0207 118 6045 or use our contact form - we look forward to hearing from you.