Starting and running a small business of any kind is a full-time job: that practically goes without saying.
In many ways, building a growth strategy for that business is another full-time job. It is tough for many accountants to dedicate adequate time to acquiring new clients and recruiting more employees.
If this describes you, that is understandable.
Accountants are qualified and skilled individuals, committed to providing a high-quality service. If you are running a small accountancy practice, and you want to devote more time to growing the business, you will need to do one of two things.
One, you will need to process fewer accounts day-to-day. Two, you will need to find a way of doing the same amount of work in less time. This latter option sounds preferable, but how can you do it?
Making the basics quicker
There are three principal areas for accountants running a small practice to consider:
- Practice management
- Document management
These are non-negotiables for any practice. To grow a small practice, accountants need to find ways of covering each of these areas efficiently.
Many accountants are currently using basic spreadsheets and word processors to ensure they keep their clients compliant. This is not a sustainable foundation on which to grow your practice.
It leaves relevant client data open to human error. It means that all data must be updated and transferred manually. It ensures that basic tasks, such as document exchange between accountant and client, take longer than they should.
Making the transition to purpose-built software ensures that some of the most menial tasks in an accountant’s working day can be slicker – and, in some cases, automated.
Integrations: taking a holistic approach to your software
Many small practices are yet to take their first foray into purpose-built accountancy software. Others are experimenting with solutions from various providers to cover areas such as personal tax or VAT submissions.
As with any business expense, they will have considered each solution on its own merits – in terms of cost and efficiency.
If that sounds like your practice, then you will have some idea of the accounting solutions on the market. You will also have experienced some of the efficiencies that purpose-built software can provide.
Yet when you consider each accounting function individually and acquire software on a case-by-case basis, you can end up with a variety of solutions from several different providers. This does not equip you to yield the full efficiencies of accounting software.
The key to saving you time during the working day is software integration.
Using software applications which integrate with each other allows data to synchronise seamlessly and securely.
This eliminates a lot of the manual work that you would do transferring client financial data from one piece of software to another. This means that human error is significantly reduced, and time previously spent on menial repetitive tasks can be saved.
In turn, this means you can focus on building the growth plan that equips your practice to thrive.
Making accounting software affordable
When you are running a small business of any kind, costs are not just an important consideration. They are potentially make-or-break decisions, particularly in an economy characterised by high inflation.
For that reason, some small accountancy practices may choose to get by with stock software. There’s no doubt that this helps to reduce operational costs.
However, it’s important to consider the cost/benefit analysis too: does getting by provide the same growth opportunities? Does it equip your practice to optimise profit and productivity, and expand your client base?
To adopt purpose-built accountancy software is a statement of confidence in your practice. Yet there’s no question that it is a significant expense. So how do you find value?
Small practices might be best advised to adopt an incremental approach, but also to identify the software integrations that provide the greatest efficiency. If you are a practice of two or three employees, you might be content to focus on compliance.
As you grow the practice, you may find that purpose-built practice management software becomes highly useful. The next step could be document management: adopting the software combinations that ensure an efficient flow of information between your employees and your expanding client base.
Identifying the right software combinations, and integrations, to facilitate these functions is not always easy.
Devoting some time to research will help you understand where appropriate software bundles exist on the market. This allows you, and your chosen provider, to cater for your practice’s needs at its particular stage of development.
Work with Wolters Kluwer
At Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK, we offer CCH Starter Packs: software bundles designed to help small practices take those first steps towards practice growth. To find out more working about working with Wolters Kluwer, contact us via [email protected]