Historically speaking and without much controversy, “Banks must, and do, manage a complete suite of banking products and serve all clients through all channels” says Founding Partner of QED Investors Frank Rotman. However today, as we examine our financial ecosystem, best of breed financial solutions are now emerging from a myriad of institutions, changing the business finance landscape for SMEs. As a consequence the role of the accountant is changing too.
Financial information is flowing faster and freer than ever and is putting more power at the fingertips of business decision makers, allowing for more responsive and better-informed decisions than ever before. Increasingly, UK businesses are looking to their accountants for guidance and services beyond bookkeeping, tax obligations and compliance.
“It used to be simple to go to the bank about a business loan” says Capitalise.com Managing Director Paul Surtees. But in the last three years alone, 3,000 brick-and-mortar UK bank branches have closed, while the number of SME lenders has increased from a handful to over 360.”
The Evolution of the Accountant: From Number Cruncher to Strategic Business Advisor
The humble accountant is afforded more power than ever before. This traditionally unassuming profession is the only remaining unbiased source of “truth” for the SME.
Many fintechs now work directly with accountants to plug the business finance gap. Tide, Crowdcube and Capitalise are three such companies, with each of them tackling a different key SME finance area. Tide offers banking services for modern businesses; Crowdcube is an investment crowdfunding platform; and Capitalise is an adviser-led debt funding platform. All three companies identify accountants as a key SME partner.
As Tide’s Head of Partnerships Max Bernier explains, “We serve as problem solvers to accountants and their clients. We’re tech people, here to facilitate the working lives of accountants by making their workflows and business outcomes easier and more efficient.”
Whereas Crowdcube’s Head of Equity Investment Michael Wilkinson says, “Accountants can navigate this new Fintech landscape, advise clients on the optimal stack of different solutions, and utilise them to deliver for their business.”
The Future of Fintech Roadshow 2018
The fintech trio kicks off its Future of Fintech UK Roadshow to explore the following questions:
- What is the accountant’s role in a world where legacy banks are unable to deliver a full suite of best-in-class products across all business finance verticals?
- Is it inevitable that the SME accountant will soon take the place of the legacy bank’s Relationship Manager? Or does it merely provide accountants with additional opportunities to further serve their client?
Too often discussion centres on the notion of what accountants “should” or “must” do in order to thrive and this often comes from commentators with little knowledge of the accounting profession. The Future of Fintech Roadshow 2018 seeks to do away with this inefficient mode of thinking by focusing discussion around accountancy best practices at a foundational level.. It will host presentations from financial industry leaders, members of regulatory bodies, leading accounting professionals and other key financial community stakeholders from across the UK.
Join the Business Finance Revolution!
Register your interest here and join us at one of the Fintech Roadshow’s locations around the UK, kicking off in Manchester on October 17 2018