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  • Writer's pictureXero Queen

Data Beyond Numbers

The role of the Accountant is changing clients need us to help them have a good understanding of the numbers in their business – bank balances, financial numbers, cash flow forecasting and budgets. They also need someone they can trust to talk strategy with and bounce ideas off.

For the most part business owners are very good at what they set their business up to do, however the day to day admin and bookkeeping element can prove to be very daunting especially to the new business owner. Many bury their head I the sand not knowing the numbers until their year end accounts are produced, which can be several months after the year end. This is a dangerous strategy which is out of step with the financial uncertainty we all find ourselves dealing with at the moment.

Being able to put a monthly report in front of an owner or stakeholder that breaks down how their business is doing, allowing them to make more timely decisions, is critical to the success of companies, especially now. The stereotype of accountants just being number pushers who are only contacted at the point the accounts need is an outdated way of thinking .

Everybody wants information yesterday, that is where cloud accounting comes in, instead of sending a back up once a year to the accountant I work with my clients providing information monthly and sometimes more often. Any issues can be nipped in the bud and opportunities to grow the business are not missed.

Is your data accurate?

This all sounds great, having up to date data at your fingertips is definitely the way to go but the fly in the ointment is the accuracy of this data. Data that has any gaps can almost be worse than not having data at all. For example I recently looked at a clients Xero bookkeeping and their bank balance was overstated by a little over £9,000, the costs in the P&L were inaccurate and therefore any business decisions made on the basis of these figures would be floored. The client in question was a start up that insisted on completing their own books to save money. This error occurred due to a knowledge gap in the bookkeeping process when reconciling the bank. If this client had monthly reports this would have been picked up a lot earlier. The money they thought they were saving in doing the bookkeeping themselves is now being spent putting everything right.

Don’t just think of your Accountant as an annual expense to get your accounts filed. The role has evolved from an annual discussion to more sporadic phone calls which can be quick-hitting questions, technology questions enabling you to have accurate the data need you need. Cloud technology, Zoom and screen sharing is a really efficient way to achieve this and Accountants that embrace this way of working with clients often don’t charge an hourly rate but rather a fixed fee for the services provided A timely query can save a lot of reworking of inaccurate figures down the line and more importantly ensure all business decisions are made based on accurate data.

A sneak peak into the future...

Every industry seems is to be seeing the need for more timely, reliable information they want it “yesterday”. Businesses are going to have to allow technology to help them, or overhead costs are going to make it nearly impossible for them to compete and still make a profit. Essentially, those who embrace technology, put themselves in a strong position. It’s an inevitable and essential part of modern day business models, failure to accept that could well be detrimental.

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