Technology lifeline for battling SMEs

The most successful small to medium businesses are those adopting new technology, such as cloud accounting software, according to leading mid-tier chartered accounting and advisory firm William Buck.

Head of William Buck’s Business Advisory Focus Group, Chris Gebhardt, said among the firm’s 3000 plus SME business clients, those embracing technology were finding the efficiencies and cost savings needed to ride-out the current economic conditions.

He highlighted the transition to cloud accounting software – provided by suppliers such as Xero who William Buck has recently partnered with – as an example of technology’s ability to streamline business processes.

“SMEs need the ability to make quick decisions – they need to understand where money is coming from and going, in real time,” he said.

“While SMEs are often resistant to change, those who are embracing it are the ones that are thriving in the current economic environment.”

Chris said that while cloud computing is nothing new, up until recently it has been the domain of enterprises at the larger end of town.

“Providers such as Xero have enabled SMEs to access the latest accounting software at a reasonable price, creating a huge opportunity for business owners,” he said.

“With updates being made automatically in the cloud, it means owners and managers can focus on the business rather than being caught up with technology.

“Having the ability to instantly access everything from inventory and payroll, to invoicing and bank statements, from anywhere with an Internet connection is invaluable.”

William Buck’s partnership with Xero has expanded its cloud accounting capabilities to provide more flexible solutions to its clients. An example is Xero’s single ledger solution, which allows clients and their accountants to work on a file simultaneously.

“No longer do we have to contact a client for a file, update it and send it back,” Chris said.

“Adjustments to entries can be processed instantaneously, which allows William Buck to provide a more streamlined and efficient offering and more importantly to be more proactive.

“Being able to access a client’s financial data in real time allows us to spot issues before they arise and develop strategies to remedy them. Equally, up to date management reporting and forecasting allows us to work with clients to make the most of opportunities as they arise.”

For Xero, the ability to work with a practical and hands-on mid-tier firm cements its reputation as the cloud accounting solution of choice for small businesses and their accountants.

“We’re excited to work with William Buck who has a great reputation in the small business market. They’ve approached our software in the manner in which it has been designed; as a tool to partner with their clients,” Xero’s Australian Managing Director Chris Ridd said.

“Rather than being threatened by what is essentially a disruptive technology, William Buck has seized the opportunity to provide a stronger more strategic offering.”