Everyone needs to adapt and change with the times
Accounting Direct Plus’s innovative approach to accountancy is winning fans in high places. The firm has won an impressive number of awards in the last two years including ‘Best Accountants in the South East’, ‘Best for Tailored Services’ and most recently ‘Best Online Accounting Solutions Provider for Corporate Tax Planning’ in the 2017 Finance Awards.
A strong online accounting services strategy is not only helping to win awards but also acts as a powerful differentiator in helping to attract new clients. As a result, the practice is going from strength to strength and Enver Kannur, Managing Director, Accounting Direct Plus, is of the firm belief that ‘all accountants need to adapt and change’ if they are going to succeed in this digital world and in the ‘next generation of accountancy.’
“Client demands are changing the way accountants work,” comments Enver. “Gone are the days when we would produce accounts twelve months on – now businesses want access to information in real time, whether it’s a business plan update or monthly management accounts.”
The firm has two offices: one in North London and one in the West End and its’ ethos is to provide a bespoke proactive service to help to run clients’ businesses. With mobile apps now a primary channel and statistics that reveal that the time spent in Apps has nearly doubled over the past two years, Accounting Direct Plus has taken the decision to invest in its’ own custom App to communicate more easily with clients and engage directly with them on their smartphones and tablets.
One of the main advantages of Apps is that they are easy to access and with the firm’s icon on the home screen, users can access a whole raft of personal financial information from within the App with useful calculators, tools and direct links to Cloud accounting systems.
Enver explains: “Before, it was a case of doing the job but now it is all about communication and in the digital age, the most important asset an accountant can have is their App on the screen of a smartphone. Having an App makes it easier to communicate with our clients and for them to communicate with us.”
In today’s 24/7 mobile world the accountant’s position as the first point of contact to discuss financial issues, is being challenged. Numerous alternative sources of information are just a few taps away on a smartphone or tablet – and many people trust Google and the other search engines that aggregate this information more than they trust the originators of the information.
Relentless pressure to do more with fewer resources also nudges clients and prospects down the quickest and easiest route to information on accounts, finance and tax. By delivering this through a custom, branded App, threats such as ‘the Google effect’ can be neutralised and the firm’s position as its clients’ trusted and most authoritative anchor point in the mobile world cemented. Embracing digital mobile ensures accountants and their clients are connected when and where it matters.
Enver believes that making an App central to the digital strategy is taking pressure off the team as clients can easily locate their own pay slips along with P45s and P60s directly from the App without having to contact the practice and all personal documents are stored literally at their fingertips.
The aim is ‘to use technology as much as possible’ and ‘make it easy’ for their clients to run their businesses in the new digital world and so far, they have all been ‘most receptive’. With a range of tools and calculators available from the App, Enver says that the new employee pay calculator is one of the most popular as businesses can instantly assess for themselves whether they can afford a new hire. The benefits in kind calculator and the mileage tracker follow closely behind.
Using technology to provide a solution for businesses that increasingly require information in real time is very much at the heart of Accounting Direct Plus’s culture moving forward. “RTI has saved us a lot of time and the move to providing real time data will definitely benefit Business UK and help in making the right decisions,” comments Enver. The modernisation of the tax system to make the UK one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world and the move to Making Tax Digital means that accountants will be responsible in real-time for their clients’ MTD quarterly returns. Enver believes that this is going to present small companies with a big problem as they have never had to provide information on their turnovers in real time and he and his team are already working on a new range of services aimed at those that are likely to struggle the most.
The firm’s App may form part of that solution using the smartphone camera to record income and expenses and clients able to transmit the data to the accountant in real time. Accountants will be able to view and amend the summary data, retain control of when that data is submitted to HMRC and take responsibility for all submissions.
These App-based solutions are set to create the next level of brand experience with mobile at the very centre of the accountant client relationship and undoubtedly, will help business UK make that important digital leap.
Anyone interested in seeing how the Accounting Direct Plus App works can download it free from the Apple App store or from Google Play and gain access to a range of useful tools.