By Pamela Phillips
The global pandemic has affected every single one of us and the impact on society has been absolutely far-reaching. It's clear that businesses must adapt and change in this environment to ensure long term survival and success.
In our recent webinar on managing communications during COVID-19, Ali Taylor from Bewt explained that whilst people are anxious and nervous now, they are also consuming a high volume of media and are especially engaged with businesses who are communicating in the right way.
Good news stories
Ali told us that now is the time to focus on the positives in our communications. People really want to hear good news stories.
This got me thinking. We have lots of positive things we can share but perhaps we’ve not shared them enough.
So today I want to talk about how, by being a fully digital business, we’ve been able to adapt to the new normal.
This is not to say it has been easy. We’ve had to re-think and change how we stay connected as a team. When you sit next to each other in the office information kind of disseminates by osmosis around the team, but when you work remotely you need to put more structure and effort around keeping conversations going. But we’ve certainly found the transition easier than most.
Powered by Digital
Digital acceleration is happening, and it is speeding up. The digital mindset will remain as lots of people have seen the benefits of using digital technology to connect people.
Despite this, there are plenty of stories of businesses that have not embraced digital technology.
We recently used a new supplier who delivered us a great service but then wasn’t able to send us a bill as, ‘due to current circumstances’, they couldn’t access their desktop-based software to raise the invoice!
When you don’t send out your sales invoices quickly, your cashflow suffers. These days it’s so easy to move your accounting system to the cloud, why would you not? If you need more convincing, take a look at our blog on why you should switch to Xero.
I’ve heard tales of business owners that have been breaking lockdown to drop off paperwork with their bookkeeper so they can get their VAT returns ready to file. If you are still doing this, please first take a look at receiptbank.
The benefits of being a digital business
Here are some of the benefits of being fully digital, and how we’ve benefited from being a fully digital accountancy business during COVID-19.
We’ve been able to switch to home working easily, which has meant no disruption to the service we deliver to our clients.
Our regular communication channels have continued as normal as we use VOIP for our phone calls which we can easily access from home. We’ve been using Zoom for years for video calls with our clients.
The apps we use in our business, like Xero, Receiptbank, Float, Sharefile, Harvest, are all digital. When everything is in the cloud, you can work from anywhere.
When your business is digital, communication and information sharing can happen anytime, anywhere, and with anyone you want.
This means you can involve the right people when you need to. If, for example, one of your projects is running over budget, you can hop on a Zoom call with the project manager, look at the project in Harvest, and find out why together.
If you need to know how much cash you need to borrow to keep your business afloat, your accountant can quickly jump into Float, check your forecast assumptions and you are ready to go.
Improved data and insights
If you are running a digital business you will have access to better data and will be able to draw better insights.
Remember the supplier I mentioned earlier who wasn’t able to raise a sales invoice because he didn’t have access to his accounting system? How will they be able to manage their cashflow if they don’t have a handle of all the uninvoiced work they’ve done? How will they be able to address a reduction in profit margins without knowing what their profits are?
As well as being able to make better decisions and improve profitability by making better decisions, there are cost savings that you can benefit from too.
Using digital tools means your processes are more efficient which in turn means less time doing data entry work, this can save you on staff or bookkeeping costs.
If your team can work from home, you don’t need such a big office and can reduce your rent costs.
If you raise sales invoices quickly and are set-up with payment services, like GoCardless or PayPal, you get paid faster. Fact.
Better service to your clients
You can enhance your offering to your clients by being digital.
Coming back to the world of accountancy, I’ve heard stories of accountants who have shut shop during COVID-19 and furloughed staff. They’ve done this because they are not geared up to enable their staff to work from home. This leaves their clients in the terrible position of not having access to the support they need, to process furlough claims, or apply for loans, when they desperately need it.
We must adapt and change
As Ali Taylor said in our webinar, it is clear that businesses must adapt and change. If you are not already a digital business then making the moves to become one should be at the front of your mind right now. It will be one of the best things you can do to ensure the long term survival and success of your business.
Are you ready to be more digital?
Arrange a call with one of the team and we’ll talk to you about how we can help.