Hold in your mind, if you will, the image of a swan serenely gliding through the water, apparently effortless in its grace, whereas we know that underneath the water a great deal of effort is being exerted into creating this joyous vision.
In my long experience as an accounting/taxation practitioner I have several observations regarding the relationship between clients and accountants. One is that our clients are completely disinterested in our abilities and skills as an accountant. They aren’t interested in the merits of accrual and prepayments, they aren’t interested in the generally accepted accounting principles, or that we are governed by law in the way accounts are prepared and presented.
Not long after starting my practice I discovered that the majority of clients just want the job done, no long winded discussions on anything technical. They care what tax they have to pay, they care that their business is solvent, they care that their business is delivering on the vision they had for it, they care what they have to pay for the services we provide.
So, we have long had the policy at Vincent & Co not to burden our clients with all of the technical issues we have to face, we make the service as seamless as possible. We make the client interaction as pleasant as possible, with friendly, caring and non-technical communication.
One of the disadvantages is that clients sometimes assume that we don’t do very much for our fee, we get dumbed down because we don’t blow our own trumpets.
We are now facing Making Tax Digital which is going to present practitioners with enormous problems. The fact that all tax clients will need to make quarterly returns plus annual returns of tax means that work must be completed more efficiently, and expediently. Expedience is a difficulty for many people in business who face a whole series of their own problems with their own businesses.
There is a proliferation of online digital solutions to assist both the client and the practitioner in these tasks. The ability to pull data from bank accounts and credit cards directly into accounting software has to be the solution to making the process of filing more streamlined.
One matter that we accountants find extremely annoying is the marketing of some on-line accountancy software providers. They imply that simply having the software and downloading your data is sufficient to prepare accounts.
I am sure you are familiar with the slogan “accounts done, taxes done!” This has led to many taxpayers looking to do their accounts with these software packages without professional assistance, and in fairness to taxpayers, we have made our role seem simple, so they believe the software package will do everything for them. This of course is not the case. Any tool is only useful in the hands of an expert, which understand how to use the tool. You can buy a formula 1 racing car, but that doesn’t make you a formula 1 driver.
So, what is our ‘The Virtual Number Mill’?
This is a product/service/ system that we have developed to tackle some of the problems that we face. We will be using all available technology to help us, and our clients, to prepare accounts contemporaneously, thus keeping up to date at all times.
Typically a client will use cloud accounting software to issue sales invoices to their clients and customers. They will either, e-mail, scan, or photograph all of their purchase invoices and receipts. These are then loaded up to an invoice scanning service. Then we do the rest. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Well, it is.
Behind the scenes we arrange for data links to exist between banks, credit cards, factors, payroll software, and the invoice scanning software. We prepare a bespoke chart of accounts relative to the client’s business; we also review all transactions as they enter the accounting software and map the regular transactions and analysis the unique ones. We prepare monthly controls, debtors and creditors and make these available to our client.
Quarterly we prepare full Profits and Loss accounts and balance sheets, again for the client’s approval. These reports are all available within the accounting package.
We then file all relevant returns with the appropriate government bodies having obtained our clients approval, again digitally.
Call Vincent & Co if you want to know more or to discuss your particular circumstances.