Deloitte Private Principal Adam Russell explores how cloud computing and balanced strategic decision making can drive performance and growth.
Technology is revolutionising how accountants work, and this has flow on effects for the financial management of your business. The major driver of this change is cloud computing, which is offering practices and their accountants better and faster access to business intelligence, which they can then use to advise clients and drive performance and growth. Cloud computing allows a company to access applications from an offsite provider via the internet, rather than from company-owned and maintained hardware and software. This provides software as a service, which in turn allows businesses to pick and choose best of breed software, bringing together online accounting, inventory, business intelligence, CRM, payroll and many other packages.
Not only is this software now more accessible, it is also more affordable. Cloud computing has driven a proliferation of high quality software packages available on a monthly subscription basis. This is particularly beneficial for small and medium-sized practices. Previously, the world class functionality available with some of this software was too expensive to be economic for small and medium-sized businesses, whereas now the entry cost is very low.
With the introduction of online accounting software, we can now access the client information online in real time. This has made the accounts preparation process more timely and efficient, as well as opening up access to more up-to-date and detailed business information, to support insightful decision making to support sustainable growth.
The benefits of having your financial statements prepared sooner are many – whether it is meeting banking covenants, quickly understanding how your practice is truly tracking at any given time, or assisting with forecast preparation.
Less time taken preparing accounts also leaves your accountant able to spend more time on understanding your business and providing insightful advice to support more balanced strategic decision making. Access to the information online also means that this advice is based on real-time information that can be used to increase accountability and support growth. Online access has the added benefit of encouraging greater collaboration between businesses and their advisors, which in turn leads to better governance.
The key drivers for your business can be highlighted and tracked on a dashboard to ensure that your business continues to create profit, cash and economic value simultaneously. Tracking these key performance indicators drives better business management and can be viewed simultaneously by your advisors. Decisions can be based on current data and allow boards the flexibility to meet virtually.
It is well documented that good governance is crucial to the SME sector. So, while you will still need great people on your board or in your management team who are willing to challenge and bring their experience to bear, technology is playing an increasingly important role in assisting more effective governance and consistently balanced strategic decisions. Talk to your advisor about the Cloud Computing options that are available and most relevant for your business, and how you can maximise any investment you make in this new technology.
- Take a fresh look at how you and your business use technology.
- Using the technology available will result in more efficient and timely preparation of financial information.
- Your accountant can become a better business advisor with access to real time information.
- You will have access to the data you need to make informed strategic decisions that will support the efficient realisation of your strategic goals
Adam Russell is a Principal with Deloitte Private and the presenter of the Measuring the Financial Pulse of your Practice Lunch Forum, which was held in Brisbane last month and will be run on the Gold Coast on 14 May. Adam is an experienced Advisory Board Chair, Company Director and Chartered Accountant, who has helped hundreds of privately owned businesses (including architects, designers and fit-out organisations) to build and deliver ambitious yet sustainable growth strategies.