There has never been a better time to go it alone as a business owner. This is true in a variety of industries, including accounting. Digital technology is, of course, the key to getting started quickly, professionally, and affordably.
Despite the current world’s uncertainty and unpredictability, now could be the ideal time to go it alone as an accountant. Although the number of new ventures launched in the UK in 2020 was down, the UK’s entrepreneurial intention rate was one of the highest in Europe, according to the 2020/2021 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Global Report, which measures the intention to start a new business in the next three years.
This is good news because small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and a thriving SMB ecosystem breeds new ventures. For example, accountants who are specifically trained to meet the financial needs of modern SMBs and add real value to growing businesses.
Any new business should have digital built into its DNA as a foregone conclusion. There are numerous resources available that discuss how to create a digitally-enabled business. Many of the fundamentals of starting a business can be sped up with modern technology, from domain names, email addresses, and websites to cloud-based software for everything from collaboration to marketing to invoicing.
There’s no reason to duplicate out-of-date tools and processes just because people are starting from scratch. This gives you a leg up on traditional accounting firms that are still transitioning away from old ways of doing things. Another advantage of digital technology is that it empowers you as an entrepreneur to punch above your weight by allowing you to do more with less, work from anywhere, and scale quickly without incurring the traditional costs of expansion. Finally, technology and capabilities that were previously only available to large corporations are now available to entrepreneurs and small businesses at a low cost.
As an accountant, you can add value by:
When most entrepreneurs and small business owners go it alone, one of the first things they realize is that they now have to take care of all aspects of their company. They may have intended to pursue their passion for and skill in catering, fashion design, or construction, but suddenly, managing their cash flow and meeting financial goals begins to consume their time.
With dramatically shorter financial cycles and the emergence of opportunities that can only be taken if you are agile and flexible enough to grab them, financial administration has taken on increased importance during the pandemic in many ways. This is an opportunity for a fledgling accounting firm to fill a gap in the market and provide true business value to entrepreneurs, allowing them to focus on growing their businesses.
Newly independent accountants should rethink the services they provide to their clients, in addition to building digitally-enabled businesses from the ground up. Financial reports delivered a month or quarter later are no longer acceptable.
You can truly add value to a growing business if you provide this instead of relying on legacy timeframes and reporting styles as an accountant. The second reason for going it alone as an accountant is to take a digital-first approach. Businesses will not be able to provide this level of service if they are data entering shoeboxes full of client receipts every quarter, matching them to bank statements, and then allocating them to expense accounts. They won’t get there by sending clients updated spreadsheets with no context every month or even every quarter.
Clients should have access to tools that are simple to use and comprehend, regardless of their financial situation. Tools that inform the business owner about what is going on in their company on a daily basis, as well as how this compares to their KPIs and previous performance. This gives them peace of mind as well as information that they can use right away.