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Deloitte propels into SME market with £2.5m accounting services investment

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DELOITTE has become the latest Big Four firm to tap into the start-up and SME space, launching its £2.5m investment Propel, a cloud-based accounting and analytics service to the market.

The new Deloitte offering is a full bookkeeping and accounting service on a monthly subscription model, presenting the UK’s 5.4 million small business owners with a dashboard that gives a real-time view of how their business is performing, from cash position to web traffic.

Tapping into the market

Small business owners can feed their data company’s data into the dashboard to give a real-time view of their financial performance, allowing them to monitor key metrics such as business growth, gross profit and sales by day.

The service also analyses non-financial data gathered through apps, ranging from web traffic to top selling products, to generate a more accurate picture of business performance.

Propel is funded by Deloitte’s Innovation Investments scheme, which encourages its entrepreneurial employees to turn start-up ideas into businesses.

Market competition

Deloitte is not the first Big Four outfit to make a move into the small business market.

KPMG has been tackling the space for several years now. In 2014, the firm invested £40m to extend its mid-market services to small and start-up businesses via KPMG Enterprise, which comprised of a cloud-based small business accounting service, which helps small businesses deal with bookkeeping, payroll, VAT and corporate tax returns.

In 2015, Iain Moffatt, KPMG’s former UK head of regions and now head of National Market, declared KPMG’s intention to disrupt and dominate the small business market by telling small businesses “you can pay us the same as your current accountant but we’ll give you more”. He also went on to say that within the next five years, Google or Amazon, rather big accountancy firms, could be their biggest threat.

In September last year, KPMG went on to strengthen its small business services through a tie-up with Metro Bank to combine their accountancy and banking operations to provide small businesses with quick and easy access to expert advice and services, a move they said would “significantly reduce the hurdles presented by financial red tape”.

In the same month, PwC and software giant Sage announced a new alliance in a determined push to win market share in the UK and global SME space.

Both groups claimed the launch would initially focus on the UK before the offering is rolled out across the planet and fuses the Sage Live offering and the ‘real-time social accounting’ of PwC UK’s cloud based accounting service, My Financepartner.

‘Help start-ups and SMEs grow’

Commenting on Deloitte’s new offering, Katie Houldsworth, Deloitte’s innovation partner for audit, said: “We’ve built this service to help start-ups and SMEs grow. It is designed to deliver insight and address some of the longstanding headaches entrepreneurs and their management teams can face.

“When developing Propel, we collaborated with our 20 pilot clients to understand what makes a difference to their businesses. As a result, we now offer additional business planning support to supplement the dashboard and core accounting service. For example, we can help with cash-flow forecasting, creating budgets and attracting investment.”

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