PwC has set its sights on the small-to-medium-sized business market, with its launch of cloud accounting platform My Financepartner.
In addition, it has also announced partnerships with alternative finance platforms Funding Circle and MarketInvoice (MI) for their SME clients on the platform.
It has also just agreed a business relationship with Google to hook up its “rich client relationships” and unparalleled industry knowledge with the Google for Work suite of productivity tools and Android mobile apps.
The Big Four firm will also adopt Google Apps for Work for use by its 45,000 employees in the US and Australia.
However, its cloud accounting platform, My Financepartner, was developed by the firm this year and allows small-to-medium-sized business users to gain access to a PwC accountant, a UK-based finance shared service centre and a suite of management information reports and tools.
Pricing is flexible, and depending on the level of service users require, can be accessed from as little as "hundreds rather than thousands" of pounds.
Its partnership with MarketInvoice means the firm will tell its clients about MI's services, and in turn MI will refer clients to the My Financepartner team where appropriate.
In addition, the arrangement will include mentoring sessions for business owners, providing advice on finance and growth strategies.
Last week, KPMG announced the launch of a similar cloud-based package in partnership with Xero, aimed at the SME sector available from £150 per month.
A PwC spokesperson said that this is a market the Big Four firms are starting to go to, not for new revenue streams but to seek out "the next Googles".
"Maybe the Big Four firms weren't focusing on it in the past but all the technology in business nowadays has allowed us to open up that market. There is a move to start serving that and look for the future Googles of the world.
"Some people have said its because the Big Four is looking for new revenues as we've been in a downturn in a few years. But its not, this is a once in a lifetime change of the introduction of disruptive, innovative technology that allow clever businesses to do things in a very different way," he said.
The spokesperson added that professional service firms have been insulated from disruption and change, but need to change their own models too, as these trends also apply to them.
In addition to the firm viewing cloud as a disruptive sub-sector, it views alternative finance the same way. PwC said it sees a "big future" in this way of fundraising and partnered with both Funding Circle and MI to spread the word around the UK.
In August, cloud accounting firm Xero also announced a partnership with MI.
About Rachael Power
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