This week’s blogs: we have the technology

Lord Stephen Carter’s interim Digital Britain report paints a picture where
accessible and fast technology finally becomes a push rather than a pull factor.

Once that happens it’s realistic to expect that the average home, small
business and cost-cutting firm will happily embrace the ‘cloud computing’
concept once they realise it can be so much easier and cheaper.

The real question is what does this mean for the way we receive and send
information? The accountant who hasn’t got a robust and effective online
presence will be the equivalent of the old guard accountant who refused to play
around with that ‘new fangled email malarkey’ back in the 1990s. Many of the
larger practices are already there or heading in the right direction, but will
the smaller firms be able to get away with hoping that their client remains a

Of course it may never come to pass. A dependence on the private sector to
fund this shift is the equivalent of asking someone in a desert if they can
spare the last of their water, so expect lines to be drawn in the sand there.
Either way, it’ll be fascinating to see the response when the next instalment of
the report comes out in Autumn.

Some say that until confidence is restored in our banking system, there will
be no escape from the economic downturn gripping the nation, and I subscribe to
this view too.

So, the news from the Forum of Private Business today saying that small
businesses are still seeing a deterioration in the bank lending environment
leaves me in two minds.

If the banks hang tough while small businesses suffer in the short term, many
people will be out of a job as a result, and liquidations on the Graydon
database will rise. On the other hand, if the banks start to reveal much
stronger financial results due to their hard-headed tactics, the positives eman
ating from the news might help pick up the general economy faster.

Hmm, there’s a conundrum.

Martin Williams, MD, Graydon UK.

ACCA’s Insight series shows that those companies taking a positive approach
to their staff in past recessions have been the quickest to recover and enjoyed
greater sustained commercial success.

No-one can be sure when there will be an upturn in the economy. But we do
know that, in order to survive in the current climate, businesses need to focus
on their greatest asset – people.

Richard Aitken-Davies, president, ACCA.

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