Software for startup accountants and bookkeepers
By now you all should be aware of the benefits from the adoption of using technology to make labour intensive and repetitive tasks a breeze. Increased consistency, accuracy, and time savings, all of which in the long term leads to increased efficiency and cost savings.
But with increasing competition and the development of various technologies and software to choose from. The next question becomes how do you know which software will best match your firm’s needs?
The accounting software you use will play a big role in your firm, so it's definitely worth giving some thought into what to look out for.
Flexibility to work anywhere anytime. Normal working arrangements are changing as the idea of remote working provides more flexible working arrangements. Covid has highlighted the various benefits associated with remote workers as workers don’t need a physical office to work together.
As data and work is moving into the cloud, you'll be able to work anywhere that has an Internet connection. Giving you access to a larger talent pool without location restrictions. You’ll be able to collaborate with your colleagues and clients through not only having access to the same system, but you’ll be able to work in it simultaneously.
You’ll save costs as you don’t need an office with overheads and expensive setup costs. Overcoming some of the main obstacles traditionally associated with starting and growing a business.
Most cloud service providers protect your data with multiple layers of security such as data encryption, secure data centres and two-step authentication.
But I have a feeling you're already quite familiar with point number 1.
2. 360° functionalities
Accountants typically have a different software for bookkeeping, filing and payroll. It’s worth noting that firms are increasingly talking up a host of standalone products to have access to other useful features and functionalities to aid easability. The accumulated costs can be quite expensive.
Some obvious reasons for wanting everything in one place at first glance include: reducing the overheads of paying for multiple products, and the time saved from navigating through various applications, duplicating data, and syncing data.
Furthermore, different products have different layouts, interface, and terminology. The benefit of a common interface across your practice translates to a reduced learning curve for new adopters. Terminology stays consistent throughout leaving less room for confusion and less time is needed to train new employees.
Having a well-rounded package means you spend less time and resources to understand and manage different products, further streamlining your firm.
Having a 360 software that’s also tightly integrated and operates as a single application will again further streamline your firm, by enabling additional process automation.
Partial or loosely integrated products may have compatibility issues, disabling seamless process automation. Changes in one product may have a knock on effect on another, causing issues and time spent understanding what these changes might mean.
By allowing information to move seamlessly throughout one application into all the relevant places, you’ll reduce manual processing by eliminating duplication and replicated data entry. Full automation can be achieved when all of your functions are in sync and share information in real time. Saving you time and resources with improved consistency, accuracy, and timeliness.
4. User experience
Intuitiveness and user experience are good characteristics of any application.
New applications and systems will always take a bit of time getting used to. But, it shouldn’t feel clunky and overly confusing. If it follows logical reasoning, it should make sense and provide a positive experience in general.
Well thought out applications that’s simple and well organised will be important for accountants and bookkeepers but more importantly for your clients who want to be more involved in bookkeeping.
The accounting software you use is going to play a vital part in the success of your firm.
A software provider has a duty of providing a functional and reliable product. The service they provide will be just as important in order for their clients to fully utilise their software to its maximum potential.
Having support for when you first get started will help catalyse your onboarding process, and smoothen your transition from your old systems in place. Timely support will be essential for the operation of your practice if you come across any issues and need to speak to a member of staff.
A team that understands your needs and proactively seeks updates and improvements with you and the modern landscape at the heart of their service will make a huge difference to the success of your firm.
Marketing is a powerful tool. If you get the shiny graphics, right wording, and money to invest in ads. It could very well inflate the value of something to a lot more than it actually is. This is why consumers are willing to pay a lot more for a product that's perceived as "better" even when they can find a much cheaper option that could not only provide the same results - but even beyond for a fraction of the price.
Prime examples include Apple products, who have been marketed in a way that consumers are willing to pay extortionate prices. Having that reputation means people will pay extra for a product even when there’s a cheaper option that provides the same solutions.
As accountants and bookkeepers, more than most other professionals. Cutting out unnecessary costs is a textbook.
The opposite also applies as you don't want to spend money on "unnecessary costs". Why not just choose the cheapest option? Or if you’re an established firm, why would you disrupt your firm by switching to spend more money on a software when your company has the necessary systems in place to get work done?
If you've nodded your head (literally or internally) to any of the points made - you should understand that what you're actually paying in numerical terms (£x) is just a number. The lowest number doesn't necessarily mean the cheaper = the better.
It's how the price you're paying for reflects the real value you get. How much time, money, and resources will this investment save you compared to the price you are paying?
Remember, you can spend £0 on software if you stick to the ancient pen and paper technique. You don't even need a specialist accounting software if you stick to Excel. But here you are - because the world is changing.
The media industry has undergone a complete transformation with the eradication of DVDs and CDs as companies such as Spotify and Netflix to replace these with online streaming services. The travel industry has shed light into the possibilities of much cheaper and efficient travelling services with Uber's ride sharing service.
The accounting industry will be no exception.
Client expectations are changing because rapid technology advancements are making the world spin at a much faster pace. Clients expect they're accountants to be up to date with technology in order to give them timely information for the operation of their business. Studies have shown that faster technology have improved client satisfaction to up to 43%. Contrary to the traditional technical expertise, being IT savvy is now a core competency of an accounting professional
With automated ways of collecting and analysing data, bookkeepers need to know how to harness these tools and accountants to analyse these data and translate it into meaningful and value adding insight.
Traditionally core services such as bookkeeping, tax returns and year-end accounts are what accountants do best. As new data and insights are available, accounting roles are slowly evolving into business senior advisory roles. This is primarily why the time you save from an efficient software will be increasingly valuable as you’ll be able to allocate more time and resources to focus on the higher value services.
And of course, there's also the underlying driver of the government's efforts to accelerate digitisation with open banking and MTD. PwC has predicted that by 2022, 71% of SMEs will have adopted Open Banking. With new regulations and changing client expectations, it will be compulsory to equip your firm with a compliant and efficient software.
Thinking ahead will be vital to the survival of your firm in the long term. Upskilling to stay compliant and in tune with your client expectations. Practices who respond quickly and adapt will grow and thrive.
With recent events of covid and brexit, we are likely to see increased efforts from the government to promote and encourage new businesses. Consequently, the demand for accounting and bookkeeping services would also be expected to rise, seeking guidance around changing laws and regulations.
Having the knowledge and experience as an accountant on laws and regulations coupled with the comprehensive understanding on all aspects of a business and its environment, accountants play an increasingly strategic role in providing meaningful insight and advice.
Harnessing the power of an innovative software will facilitate greater capacity and increased effectiveness within practices as we see basic manual processing work being automated. An effective practice is one who can re-allocate time and resources from minimal value adding tasks to higher value adding tasks.
Technology has been the driver of change in all industries and the most important factor that firms have to harness in order to stay competitive in the market. Investment in the right software has never been so crucial.
Nomisma is the ultimate cloud accounting suite, built by accountants for accountants. Offering every tool an accountant could dream of from bookkeeping through to payroll, accounts production, tax return production and company secretarial backed up by a powerful CRM system. Accountants and their clients also benefit from a mobile app helping manage their practice, produce reports and take pictures of receipts on the go.
Alternatively, here's a quick product demo so you can see Nomisma in action: