Now is a good time to start your digital transformation.

Change, transformation, alteration… whichever word you use, many of us find this difficult and may sometimes even cause us to feel uneasy. The primary reason is the perceived risk of failure.  But if we commit to the intention of change having established that the benefits will outweigh the costs, the uneasy feeling should subside. Moreover, with the correct support and encouragement we may even grow confident in knowing that we have nothing to fear but instead show commitment to the decision we have made.  In the end we will reap the rewards.

Now of course this philosophy of change applies to all aspects of life, but currently it is particularly important to your business because there has never been a better time to look to automate processes.  For a while now we have been reaching out to you to illustrate the importance of embracing technology into your business. This will be important as we go into a recovery mode hopefully from this Spring.  The Bank of England has indicated that they believe things will get better from April.

Across many industries since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, businesses are accelerating their digital transformation process for long term growth and prosperity. Yet during a recent survey by Gartner, 53% of SME’s surveyed have not yet started any form of transformation. Even before the pandemic change was happening, but what the Covid-19 pandemic has meant for us all is that the digital transformation process has to be accelerated.

What is Digital Transformation

Digital transformation simply put is the process of using digital technology to modify current business process to bring better performance and meet the demand of the changing customer expectations.  It begins and ends with how you think your clients/customers will want to engage with you and therefore in the background it will mean how you automate your processes.

For example, for Myers Clark the rolling out of cloud accounting software, such as QuickBooks, has been core to our digital transformation strategy.  This has basically meant that clients are no longer sending us brown paper bags full of receipts to process. Instead, we ask clients to take pictures of the receipts on their mobile phone and it gets stored in their dedicated digital vault (App called Receipt Bank).  It has transformed the way we work with our clients.  Do not get us wrong we have a long way to go to persuade all our business clients to transfer information this way, but those that have adopted it can see the benefits. 

It enables us to have better sight of your figures and therefore we can help you in real time with advice on things that matter to you, such as cashflow, getting paid faster, borrowing funds, and saving tax.  Our delivery is changing from just processing your figures to delivering insights into those figures.  Helping you to make the best decisions for your business.

What changes should I be making?

This very much depends on your business and the way you interact with your customers and suppliers.  We are happy to chat with you on a one to one basis about this but generally look at how your industry is changing and what technology is available for customer delivery and service, better stock control, better recording of time if you are in the service industry and of course the use of technology/apps to get paid faster. 

Also having a better grip of your figures, reviewing them regularly and discussing them with your accountant will obviously put you in good stead. Putting numbers in context is what we do. You will not be surprised to read that without good and very regular bookkeeping you will not have the correct numbers to even start the process.  It is now essential you are thinking of a cloud accounting product such as QuickBooks/Xero to help you.  We are experts at this and as we said at the beginning naturally change may raise fear, but you need not fear because we have a huge amount of experience and can guide you through the process. 

We touched upon Making Tax Digital (MTD) last week and this week we will expand a bit more here.  Those of you who are already submitting your VAT Returns via MTD, there is the further requirement of keeping digital records.  Since the change first came in in April 2019 many of you have just been compliant when it came to filing of your VAT Returns.  HMRC had initially given a grace period of 12 months to get the records sorted so that they were digital i.e. meaning no human input between the source documents and the accounting package and this deadline was later extended due to Covid-19.

So from 1st April 2021 all records must be kept digitally and have a digital link to the software that is submitting the VAT return. We will focus on what is meant by digital records and digital links in our next blog.

As you can see change is coming and we do not want you to be pushed into it due to legislation.  We believe you and your business will save time and money by adopting a more digital way of working.  And of course, there are all the other benefits, and we will write to you about them in the coming weeks. MTD which as we mentioned last week is being extended beyond VAT, is the “stick” to make you change but think about all the “carrots”?  Let’s focus on those.

Get in touch with the author if you need to discuss this further