Technology has changed the face of accounting. And that’s great news, both for accountants and their small business clients. But with software and digital apps increasing the basic efficiency of financial management, how do accountants add that extra something when it comes to advising their clients? The answer lies in funding advice and future forecasting.
Alex founded Soaring Falcon in 2015, with a clear vision to change accounting for good and give her clients a new, refreshing experience. As a firm, they’ve embraced the benefits of cloud accounting and digital practice tools, and it’s this ability to get the very best from technology that’s set the foundations for their proactive approach to advisory services.
The technology provides the financial data, so Alex and her team can get to understand what makes their clients tick, as she explains:
“We embrace technology. We use as much information and real-time data as possible. We then have data that we can trust and rely on, which means we're able to give good advice.”
“In terms of future forecasting, the data helps us know whether or not you need funding for the business to either grow, recruit, invest in your assets, or if there's any genuine cashflow situations. We're geared to provide that service really efficiently, before things start having a negative impact on the client’s business.
With working capital and growth finance both so vital to the future success of a business, it’s important to know your client’s key goals. Only once you know what a business owner wants to achieve, can you help make that journey easier.
As Alex explains, adding funding advice to their service mix adds another string to their bow, while also helping clients explore new funding avenues:
“We can help you with funding, we can help you with investments and grants, we can help you with opening up a bank account. There's so much that we can do for clients right now. It's not just about doing the accounts and payroll anymore.”
“When it comes to funding advice, typically clients are looking for asset purchases and growth; those are the most common things. If it’s coming to the end of a client’s financial year and they've got massive VAT and corporation tax bills to pay, it’s useful to buy those assets now, so they can reduce those tax bills.”
“And, also, if the client buys that new asset then the return on investment is that it improves the overall image of their business. It makes owners feel much better about what they're achieving. That constant innovation and investment makes them feel more energized and more motivated to keep doing well.”
Helping clients see the future path of their business is a key part of being a good advisory accountant. Soaring Falcon use a range of different forecasting solutions to deliver this, including Spotlight Reporting, Futrli, Fluidly and even the humble google sheets.
But whatever tool they’re using, the forecasting needs to be focused on the true needs of the business, both in the short and medium term, as Alex explains:
“When it comes to forecasting, you’ve got to know what's going to come out and what's going to come in, financially, so you can give the client the best guide. It’s not about looking two years down the line, it’s more realistic to look at 30, 60 or even 90-day planning. If you know you've got a big fat bill coming out, plus your tax bill, that's when you, as the owner, can start planning and when we can start advising.”
To help a client’s business, it’s important to know what they want to achieve. Do they want to grow? Do they need more equipment? Or do they need recruitment? Getting to know the business owner and what they’re aiming for is critical, and Alex believes this is how you turn a standard accountant relationship into a deeper, value-driven advisory relationship.
“I've got a client at the moment who’s debating whether or not to take on an extra employee. But I know we could get finance and funding for three months of that new employee's salary, because that person is going to start generating the required income after six weeks.”
“Opening our clients’ eyes to their own potential is why they work with us. Clients can look at the dashboards and see their own financials, but the value comes from what we talk to them about and the advice we give. That's what they pay attention to.”
Having the best funding and forecasting tools at your disposal reduces the time spent crunching numbers, and gives accountants more time to talk to their clients. Alex is clear that the technology is helping her firm deliver better value.
“We're not doing anything that we didn't before, because we still have to prepare cashflow forecasts and future predictions, and we'll still have to give tax advice. But it’s definitely making our lives that little bit easier and helping us give the best advice.”
“Capitalise provides the best finance solutions, so I just let them do it. They do all the hard work for you and I don't get involved. I just say, 'My client needs funding', I collect all the financial information, send them everything they need, and then they do the rest. It’s that simple.”
If you’d like to add flexible funding searches to your advisory toolbox, Capitalise is here to help. We’ll help you fast-forward to the future of adviser-led funding.