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The Challenges Facing UK Accountants Post-Busy Season and How Firms Can Address Them

21st Feb 2024
Brought to you by
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Suralink provides professional services firms with a single, secure platform to collaborate with clients, exchange documents at scale, and track the progress of engagements. 

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Though the Self Assessment deadline might be behind us for another year, the unique challenges and landscape obstacles facing financial professionals in the United Kingdom are still very much active. Some of these challenges are well-known to accountants the world over, while others are particular to Britain and driven by a variety of political and legal factors.

However, though many of these obstacles are formidable, they are not insurmountable. British accounting and tax professionals can benefit from studying them closely, and by executing solutions that are both specific and, to many, surprisingly simple. What follows are several such problem-solution dyads that financial professionals in the UK should consider.

A General Concern: Accountants, or The Lack Thereof

It’s no secret in the United Kingdom or abroad that the global accounting landscape is suffering a talent shortage. Fewer students are considering the profession during their schooling, the existing workforce in this industry is ageing, and the fundamental nature of the space is rapidly changing. Indeed, in 2023, the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) predicted that the accounting space will be 60,000 professionals too few by 2050.

Though this problem demands a systemic and long-term solution, accountants and other financial professionals can also take steps to close that talent gap in the here and now. A common problem for these professionals in the UK and elsewhere is the time spent managing and validating documents. It’s not uncommon for document-chasing to become its own job, with hours, days, and even weeks of time lost to simply keeping track of files across scattershot portals and spreadsheets.

A New Paradigm

While the accounting world’s aforementioned digital transformation yields many questions, it’s also resulted in a few solutions. Suralink, the world leader in PBC request lists and engagement management software, is a platform that does away with such a fragmented audit process in favour of a single, streamlined platform that houses all of your documents. Additionally, every participant on either end of the engagement can view and update the status of these files in real time, slashing the time that would otherwise be spent attempting to do so manually.

British accounting professionals can use this capability to combat the global accounting talent shortage head on. By reducing the time spent chasing documents, poring over emails, and individual validations with clients, (sometimes by as much as 50%), firms can use that saved time to help close the talent gap with, well, their existing talent! This capability will only be strengthened with time and further platform refinements.

A UK Concern: Election Year

Britain’s upcoming general election is already bringing many national issues to the forefront, one of which is of particular interest to businesses of all sizes and verticals. Politicians and regulators are currently debating whether British firms’ accounts and win/loss records should be made publicly available. Advocates of this strategy contend that it will help keep companies honest and improve business transparency, while sceptics (especially small business advocates) maintain that revealing every company’s turnover could rattle venture capitalists and stymy investment in British businesses.

Exactly what needs to be made publically available remains to be finalised, but the debate has highlighted another element that all accounting and finance firms need: top-tier security. This idea might seem gratuitous, but when placed against the backdrop of digital transformation and the spectre of large-scale business law changes, it demands a closer look.

Suralink’s platform does more than ‘merely’ streamline and centralise engagements; it also reinforces every stage of that process with maximum-grade security. In addition to managing documents and their validation with greater ease than ever, British accounting professionals can also securely manage participant access, document viewing, and more with the same simplicity. This ultimately culminates in greater peace of mind for your clients, which, whether this public availability initiative becomes law or not, is paramount to a holistic experience in the contemporary engagement landscape.

A Wider Experience World

Though reducing time spent tracking documents and securing engagements as much as possible are both important, a platform that can do both has much more to offer accounting and finance professionals in the UK and beyond. Get in touch with one of Suralink’s experts to learn more about how our platform meaningfully improves experiences for your professionals and your clients no matter the space’s digital or legal transformation