Technology is affording accountants more opportunities than ever to provide real-time information on SME operations. How close are you with your accountant?
It’s easy to get sick of hearing about technology and how it is transforming businesses. Often this change can be seen as more of a challenge than an opportunity. Yet in the accounting space, technology is opening up a wealth of information for accountants which, if business owners allow them to use it, can be an enormous opportunity for growth and reform.
“The business of accounting has changed. I think the whole accounting industry is no longer what it once was, and I think that it's presented us accountants with opportunities,” says LMS Advisory partner Alexander Laureti.
“It's presented us with opportunities to be more involved with a client's business and how they're running it. It used to be the shoe-box, where it used to be presented and, ‘Thanks very much, we'll see you in four months’ time when our tax return is ready’.”
As Mr Laureti points out, cloud computing, for example, can provide accountants with real-time information on a business’ performance, putting them in a position to make recommendations about improving workflows, managing cash flow, reducing costs and so forth.
“Having that information at our fingertips has brought everything forward so everyone's running a lot faster these days, but it's allowing businesses to have better information sooner. The accountant’s role in that, I think, is really helping clients manage that process,” he said.
“The cloud is something that can really help save them time on their business, save their advisers time so that they can actually spend more time focusing on the more important things in their business rather than processing that information.”
How can you help your accountant to help you?
Mr Laureti says that for established business owners, change can be an uncomfortable thing. Yet in this instance, there is much that can be gained by embracing a more proactive relationship with your accountant.
“There is a tendency to be resistant to change, sometimes. I think that some businesses are out there and they say, ‘Well look, it's just too scary. Computers aren't my thing, I've never done it that way before, I don't want to go down that path’,” he said.
“I think that reaching out to your accountants, your adviser, and saying, ‘Well, if you want me to do it this way, can you help me? Can you help me, can you manage that process?’, I think that the right people can help you alleviate some of your concerns.
“We're not making a change because you've been doing wrong, we're making a change because this can help you be better in your business.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.