Our Day Out: Accountex Summit North 2021

Sep 24, 2021 | Fintech Friday, Cloud, Technology

Fintech Friday this month follows our digital advisory team who attended Accountex North on Monday 20 September. The event was designed to keep us up to date with the technology and ideas driving the industry forward.

Accountancy and the way firms operate their finance function is changing at a very fast pace. Those of you who have been in business long enough will remember the arrival of the first desktop accounting system. This transformed the way SMEs kept financial records, moving from manual ledgers to processing financial data using accounting software and storing the information on hard drives with a backup on floppy disk.

Whilst the change was huge at the time, what followed was a period of about 20 years with no change at all. Ok, the software got an annual update and some new features evolved, but, overall, the whole accounting process for SMEs remained the same.

Fast forward to today and the arrival of cloud-based applications such as Xero, QBO and Freeagent. This has completely changed the way we work and given SMEs the opportunity to access up to date financial information anytime, anywhere.  But it doesn’t stop there; a whole eco system is evolving around this new way of accounting, offering digital solutions for the whole finance function – from automated credit control and payment processing to accessing finance.  Not only that but now that software is cloud-based, updates happen frequently, and new features are constantly becoming available.

This is why it is vital for us to attend these events, so that we can serve your businesses better! We strive to continually review the finance function to make sure that your company is making the most of technology, to streamline processes and better manage your business. At the end of the day, life is digital so why shouldn’t your accounting processes be?

So, along with the free pens, notebooks and charging docs, here are our top takes from our day out of the office…

Outsourcing is becoming more common place

One of the biggest inhibitors to growth is capacity. Getting a good finance team together can be time consuming and expensive so, more often, companies are opting to outsource their finance function.

We have been offering outsourced solutions for our clients for many years – from bookkeeping and payroll processing to virtual FDs. Cloud-based technology has greatly improved the service we provide, enabling us to produce current information without the need for paper records to be passed between you and us. If your finance function is causing you a headache, maybe now is the time to outsource.

Access to finance is becoming easier

Cloud-based software enables decisions to be made on up-to-date rather than historic information and finance providers are responding to this.

We had an interesting chat with one of the leading Banks about one of their new offerings which will give companies easier access to invoice finance. With a digital application, funding can be available in as little as 48 hours. To be eligible, a business must be using an approved cloud-based accounts package. Their integrated portal will then connect with the account’s package, eliminating the duplication of work so common with invoice financing.

HMRC are driving digital adoption

As HMRC continues along its MTD (making tax digital) journey, more people will need to manage their finances digitally. The next big step is quarterly reporting for landlords and sole traders, meaning their records will need to be kept digitally and income tax updates will need to be sent to HMRC quarterly.

Rather than see this as a burden, we see it as an opportunity for landlords to embrace digital accounting. It will enable us to provide a better service, touching base with our landlords on a regular basis. It will give landlords better visibility over their properties and make their administration a lot less time consuming.

It was great to speak to Xero and Freeagent about what they had in the pipeline as well as meet those providers new to the market such as Hammock.

Ecommerce is a key area of growth

As ecommerce continues to grow, we will see more players in the market offering accounting solutions. Typically, ecommerce businesses have high volumes of transactions which need to be integrated into their accounts software in a way that is MTD compliant. We already work closely with A2X to offer a digital solution for many clients, but we will always review new apps to ensure we are providing our clients with the best solution for their business.

We were therefore interested to talk to Dext about Dext ecommerce, their new digital offering. As Dext Advisors, we already have a close relationship with Dext, using Dext Prepare to automate the purchase ledger function and so we will be interested to see what this new app can do.

Automation is essential

By automating the mundane and routine processes, businesses can focus on what they do best. From using apps such as Chaser to automate the credit control process to Comma, a new payment processing app – there is usually a digital solution out there for any of your pain points.

How can we help?

Our team specialises in keeping up to date with what’s available on the market.  If you would like to find out more, please contact our digital advisory team by emailing fintech@haroldsharp.co.uk or call 0161 905 1616.