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No Accounting for Tech ep12: Mayday CEO David Tuck on entrepreneurial accountants and mending month end

Mayday CEO David Tuck joins the podcast to discuss being an accountant at a tech startup, how his new firm is setting out to ‘mend month end’ for larger companies using SME accounting software, and what the accounting profession can do to make itself more attractive to potential new recruits.

22nd Mar 2023
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A tax accountant by training, Tuck has been at the helm of two successful technology startups, first as founder and CEO of accounts receivable software Chaser, and now as CEO of Mayday, a tool setting out to ‘mend month end’ for larger companies using SME accounting software.

Tuck discussed the difficulty many growing businesses have when they start to stretch the limits of SME accounting tools like Xero, but don’t necessarily have the cash to splash out on full ERP software or implementation consultants. 

“When I look at month end at Fever Tree 10 years ago [where Tuck was Financial Controller] bookkeeping today is unrecognisable compared to then. You have bank rules, bank feeds, OCR tools. When it comes to all of the work between accurate bookkeeping and accurate accounting, whether that be your cost journals, your revenue journals, your bad debt provision, without a hint of exaggeration I still have to use the same spreadsheet. It’s the same manual process of identification, calculation and logging that’s prone to human error as a result. So we’re setting out to mend month end.”

Having worked as CEO of Chaser for seven years, he also outlined his views on late payments and what can be done to get larger businesses to pay on time.

“The short answer is legislation that makes it illegal to pay late,” said Tuck. “But in the absence of that, tech has a huge role in reducing the friction as much as possible through Direct Debit or Opening Banking, or through communication where invoices are properly chased up to be paid. Tech will never be a cure but could help significantly at the margins.”

With a recruitment crisis exacerbated by falling numbers of students entering the profession, many solutions have been proffered for how to fix accounting’s pipeline problem. For Tuck, accounting almost needs a rebrand or redefinition to demonstrate what the job actually entails in 2023, compared to the hackneyed old stereotypes that still exist in the public perception. 

“The level of value you can bring to a business is amazing, but the definition still holds prior connotations. It’s not just being stuck with spreadsheets or being super numerate - that’s still an element, but most people can get to that core numeracy. It’s much broader now and that needs to be reflected in how it’s seen.”

Background reading for the podcast:

Podcast written and hosted by Tom Herbert and produced by Will Cole. 

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By D V Fields
23rd Mar 2023 13:16

Another tool or App to solve a problem that does not exist.

The medium in which accounting records have kept may have evolved but the principles of accounts have not.

The author creates a “problem” that needs to be “mended” in order to provide a tool to solve it.

Sure month end processes can be improved. That will be through identifying the inefficiencies in the processes, bottlenecks and the like; then addressing them. Importantly the human errors will be captured with good old fashioned but proven reconciliation. Try them; you’ll be pleased at just how good they are! The ten year old spreadsheet still going strong tells you as much about its worth as it does about the person believing they are outdated.

Whatever next!

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