Graphic never_stop_learningPrior to 2000, a lot of small businesses got by quite happily using paper-based accounting systems. But the introduction of the GST saw many of them switch to using accounting software. The simple answer was – and still remains – moving to a computer-based system meant you could extract the required numbers faster than you could transcribe them.
And what about reports? It’s surprising that some business owners don’t want additional reports. Ask any experienced accountant and they will tell you that failure rates rise sharply when the decision-maker isn’t tracking quarter on quarter for sales, profit margins, cash flow, or whether their expenses are increasing.
Today’s array of accounting software solutions and their options for add-ons really does make it easy to determine a precise ‘health check’ at any time (provided you keep up to date with data entry).
From a fundamental perspective, if the number of transactions is small, there is nothing wrong with using a paper-based system or perhaps a spread sheet to do the books. But it’s not just about productivity; it’s about shifting mindset from a compliance mindset (a necessary evil) to a never-stop-learning (how can we use this to grow the business _ for both parties?) mindset.
Consider the ‘next big thing’ in Silicon Valley; a company called Box, which has so far focused on Internet data storage and collaboration technology and how the company (built by a millennial of course) plans to help other businesses build their own cloud services. The goal is to create a so-called ecosystem that ensures continued growth just as Microsoft did with PCs and Apple did with the iPhone. Xero have ‘cottoned’ on to this in a big way. If you want to connect with the ‘new consumer’ who has higher expectations perhaps than an older generation, and who is constantly connected, then prepare to be more proactive ( i.e. offer higher value than doing stuff which, in any case, can be done by an accounting software package). Above all, this is a learning opportunity.
“Why change now?” is surely the death knell for the business and the accounting professional. What do you think?