The rise of e-accounting

Derek Kelly, managing director of ClearSky Accounting, outlines the future of small business accounting services.

It’s a brave new business world. One where the need to travel light, travel lean and be fully prepared to take advantage of fresh opportunity is essential. For small businesses in particular, ‘informed agility’ is the new business mantra – especially when it comes to financial insight and their accounts.

And it’s for this reason that many companies are now demanding a more responsive type of e-accounting partner. Businesses are looking for their accountants to provide a more dynamic service and to offer support that can be woven into the fabric of their business and called upon at any time – they need partnership. An accounting presence that instead of simply being hired in to complete traditionally reactive tasks, such as year-end accounts, is always on hand to support effective decision making, not just with expert advice, but with detailed, real-time reporting, analysis and guidance.

It’s a service that many businesses often struggle to find locally. With e-accounting freelancers, contractors and other small businesses can access the services they need – and qualified accountants – virtually.

Benefits of e-accounting

Where an online accounting service delivers the biggest benefit is in turning accounting from being an admin expense with perceived value or hassle, into a valuable asset and a competitive advantage.

Real-time financial information and time-critical advice are key components of modern business success. Effective decision making relies on it. Clear financial information and expert advice can be the difference between an opportunity taken and an opportunity missed. By having access to detailed accounts information through an e-accounting service, clients are automatically in a position to make clearly informed business decisions – an informational blessing in often complex, competitive market places.

The new accounting model

What we’ve created at ClearSky is a fresh approach to accounting – an online service that understands the need for flexibility, the importance of continuity and provides the tools to make value for money accounting easy. For example, it’s clear that business owners’ time is best spent focused on their core business, not submitting VAT returns, dealing with PAYE or National Insurance. That’s why we provide a simple portal that lets clients upload accounting information, view the status of their business daily and complete all their monthly admin in less than half an hour each month.

Our service is also focused on a genuine ongoing partnership – as you grow so does our service. Because our agreements are based on fixed monthly fees it means that we’re always there, your silent accounting partner, not simply to complete the day-to-day accounting work but ready to answer queries or to help, manage and guide.

Not all e-accountants are the same. Some claim to offer software that removes the need for a personal accountant. At ClearSky, we offer a combination of online systems and real people. Clients are able to call their accountant who knows their business at any time and ask us anything, it’s all part of the service. No waiting for answers, no expensive surprises, just expert accounting support, be it advice on cashflow, IR35, payment strategies or international tax. We even include performance guarantees. For example if we don’t provide completed accounts within two months of your year-end we’ll give clients three months service absolutely free.

The future of small business accounting

Already increasingly popular across a range of freelance sectors and used by journalists, photographers, designers and consultants, small businesses are rapidly catching on to the value for money and control offered by e-accounting. From the licensed trade and pub sector, landlords and barristers to IT, finance, oil and gas industries, thousands of businesses are already enjoying the convenience and business benefits of no-nonsense accountancy services. With client numbers projected to double over the next two years it seems that e-accountancy, already hugely popular across many other European countries is now firmly establishing itself in the UK too.

ClearSky specialises in accounting for contractors, sole traders, partnerships and start-ups who want clear, straightforward advice.

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