The world has gone digital. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll have noticed how technology and software has worked its way into every facet of our modern 21st century lives.
Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox and Gmail are all fundamental parts of many people’s day-to-day living, care of their smartphone or tablet. And this move to digital isn’t confined simply to our personal lives – tech is having an equally profound impact in the business world too.
The emergence of financial technology (FinTech) and cloud-based business solutions is revolutionising how many businesses run their day-to-day processes and take care of their accounting and financial management.
So, how can digital help your business become more efficient, more organised and (crucially) more productive?
The power of automation using technology
One area where software and technology is really having an impact is automation.
When you’re running a business, or living a busy life, there are a lot of mundane, time-consuming tasks that eat into your day. What tech is great at is automating these low-level, tedious jobs and giving you back that previously wasted time.
Automation was a key theme of the recent World Economic Forum held in Davos, with talk of the 21st century being the start of a ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’. And it’s clear that we’re seeing more and more ways to streamline our lives using tech. More and more consumers are opting to use cashless payment options and businesses are beginning to realise the power of moving to software solutions that can automate the more menial elements of the business process.
Why spend hours manually entering all your sales data when you could just offer a cashless payment option that pulls all this sales data automatically into your accounting software system?
The time-savings and cost-efficiencies are pretty self-evident.
Cloud accounting as the financial foundation for doing business
At the heart of business’s love affair with digital is the emergence of cloud (or online) accounting software.
Online accounting software, like Xero, has rewritten the script and made simple – but extremely powerful – accounting available to businesses with even the smallest budgets. Cloud accounting takes all the functionality of traditional desktop-based accounting software and moves it online.
You have instant 24/7 access to your business information and financial data wherever you are. And all your sales, purchases, overheads and expenses are recorded and saved securely to the cloud – no back-ups, no software updates and no downtime while you’re out of the office. You can run your business from anywhere that has a Wi-Fi network, and that makes the whole process of keeping on top of your key numbers a whole lot easier.
FinTech that’s aimed at small business owners
It used to be that financial software and accounting technology was aimed squarely at accountants. But that’s changed.
Plenty of the FinTech solutions that are now on the market are aimed not at the accounting professional, but directly at the small business owner. And that changes the whole balance of control that a start-up or small business can have over it’s own bookkeeping, accounting and financial processes.
With minimal investment and only the most basic training, a start-up CEO can be in full control of their company’s financial management. Whether it’s a deeper view of cash flow, or a more flexible way to manage their inventory, there will be a software tool for the job.
That’s an exceptionally powerful way to build up a business system. And by choosing the specific cloud solutions that add value for your particular business you can easily create a completely bespoke software set-up.
That’s good news for the efficiency of your processes, and a great way to let the tech do more of the heavy lifting, while you get on with running the company.
Digital filing and the death of the tax return
And, as if you needed any further evidence that business has gone digital, even HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is embracing the zeros and ones.
As announced by George Osborne in the March 2015 budget, HMRC’s goal is that every business in the UK will have it’s own digital tax account by 2020. Paper returns, and in fact returns in general, will become a thing of the past.
If your business is already set up with a cloud accounting system, you’ll just link your numbers to your digital tax account and HMRC will have all the data it needs to work out your tax bill. And because this is on ongoing process, the whole ‘annual tax return’ could well be consigned to the dustbin of history.
Why’s that important? Well, for a start, it means you’ll no longer be faced with the hassle of getting that return completely annually – the data will be recorded and shared with HMRC as you trade (automation, again).
Secondly, your tax planning will become a whole lot more predictable, as you’ll always know at any given time how much profit you’ve made and how much you’ll be liable to pay in tax on that figure. No more big unexpected tax bills, and a more efficient way to manage your spending and cash flow.
Talk to us about going digital
At Tyrrell, we’re no strangers to the digital way of doing business.
We’ve restructured our whole practice over the past year to put digital software and FinTech cloud tools at the centre of what we offer our business clients. With Xero online accounting at the centre of our approach to accounting advice, if you have a financial or business issue, we’ve got the tools and the commercial experience to solve your problem.
If you’d like to know more about doing business in the digital age, we’d love to talk to you about your company and how it could evolve using the right technology.
Get in touch to arrange a coffee and a chat with one of our advisers. Or come along to one of our upcoming events and get the lowdown on cloud accounting, software add-ons and the future of digital business.