AdvanceTrack’s conference gets a new name and new approach… join us at our ‘growth booster’ event!

At AdvanceTrack we never stay still. As a business that has existed for 21 years, and whose growth is still high, the only way to achieve is through a continually evolving plan alongside investment in people and technology.

Our new ‘accounting practice growth booster’ event, GBX is our investment in developing our conference into a series of sessions designed to support you in growing your firm.

We have gathered some of the best and brightest to deliver our event!

Almost needing no introduction is Dragon’s Den star and business investor James Caan CBE. James founded his own recruitment business, Alexander Mann, which he would sell for £95m. Investing in himself, James then attended Harvard Business School before starting a recruitment investment organisation, Hamilton Bradshaw.

Again, a familiar name to accounting practitioners is our next keynote speaker, Xero co-founder Hamish Edwards. In his role at Xero, Hamish has played a pivotal role in revolutionising the way businesses manage their finances, and this has had a  big impact on the practice community too.

Hamish is executive chairman of Firmcheck, an AML management system for practices which launched in 2022.

Our founder Vipul Sheth and CTO Ian Gregory will update attendees on the future of AdvanceTrack, and where we all fit in a world which continues to develop at a rapid pace.

Other guests include:

  • Anneli Thomson, Sandler
  • Aynsley Damery, Clarity
  • David Hassall, XU Magazine
  • Louise Walpole, Moneypenny
  • Paul Shrimpling, Remarkable Practice
  • Matt Flanagan, Bluehub

 

Final point… save the date! We’d love to see you on 14 May – we will be at the British Museum. If you’d like to find out more please contact us by clicking the link here.

As the 2023 conference season kicks off in earnest, Vipul Sheth gauges the delegate (and software company) temperature after the cooling off of MTD.

It’s that time of year: when we ponder whether we’ll get a ‘proper’ summer, and the major accounting conferences begin.

First-off, it was wonderful celebrating 20 years of AdvanceTrack. This year, our conference was held in the magnificent British Museum (where we’ll be heading for 2024 too). 

Xero’s Jamie Eddy spoke of a three-pronged set of challenges and opportunities that practices must understand and leverage, namely: your reputation; managing your talent; and, therefore, your capacity to undertake work.

Our newly-appointed sales director Dermot Hamblin covered a range of topics, from how to manage change in your practice, through to new developments in the world of business and accounting technology.

Brian Coventry from Cloudcapcha spoke about the importance of differentiating your practice from others, and why capturing data from your clients allows you to offer a unique service.

I rounded off the event by reiterating that accountants have a great opportunity to make a difference to their clients – which means moving beyond the commoditised compliance services that all firms offer.

Accountex London

It was, by all accounts, a record-breaking show – certainly in terms of attendees. Of the show itself – the big players put in a lot of effort into their stands and presentations. In fact, there were presentations across 13 stands for the whole of the two days. 

While there was an element of a post-MTD lull, in that there were few big product announcements, it was noticeable how busy the aforementioned stages were. People were hungry for information. And this information wasn’t specifically ‘post-MTD’; instead, there was a range of strategic and operationally-themed sessions.

I was delighted to serve as a panellist on the ‘Are outsourcing and offshoring the solutions to the recruitment crisis?’ session. 

Ironically, some of the outsourcing session covered MTD’s impact on changing the way practices work with their clients, particularly around the increasing amount of bookkeeping that firms’ clients require. Advocate practitioners on the panel spoke of being unable to manage their workload with outsourcing support.

Vipul Sheth is MD and founder of AdvanceTrack Outsourcing

If you’d like to find out more about the pricing models for outsourcing and offshoring, please click here. Feel free to get in touch to speak to Vipul and the team. We’d love to help your practice develop and grow.

Practitioners will have to move out of the comfort zone if they wish their firm to be profitable and relevant in the near future. AdvanceTrack founder and MD Vipul Sheth explains why – and what you have to do to be valuable for your clients.

There is a sizeable proportion of practitioners who run ‘lifestyle’ practices. As owner-managers, lines will inevitably be blurred between how you live your life, and how those decisions impact on how your run your practice.

The term ‘lifestyle’, in this context, does admittedly have some negative connotations – of failing to spend the required amount of time or financial investment on the business. The vast majority of practice owners work hard and earn a decent living – but, in a time of great volatility (and competition), a focus on the practice as a business must be paramount.

And a key aspect of that is planning – looking forward. We have a government that is no longer handing out ‘free money’; in fact their current policies are about ‘squeezing’.

And then we have the digitisation of the tax system. While the self-assessment section of MTD has been delayed, there is an inevitability of both more frequent tax reporting and, ultimately, more frequent tax payments.

For businesses used to paying tax in arrears, then there will be a painful period in the not-so-distant future when we move to near-time payments – and that will mean a further cash crunch during the transition.
Digitisation, for the government anyway, is about both reporting transparency and collecting tax much closer to the transaction period.

HMRC will be able to assess situations more quickly – well, that will be its aim.

Time to prepare

So practices have to prepare. Your core compliance offering will become more technology- and process-led, but this doesn’t have to be all for the benefit of the tax authority. The beauty of all that information is, if used in the right way, you can create a more valuable and knowledge-driven service.

Helping clients improve their financial management is an obvious place to start, whether it is credit control or supporting the creation of management accounts. There is an array of services that will be driven by compliance. Growth often requires additional headcount and technology to happen, and such changes are not always easy for practitioners to deal with.

And, if you’re in a ‘comfort zone’ with your practice – it’s ticking along without actually trying to either win new business or expand/evolve its offering – then the future world will be really challenging. The government is ‘changing the rules’ as to what they want an accountant to do.

The development of the tax landscape is being made for the accountants’ benefit. But meeting the new brief does provide a catalyst for running your practice more successfully – and not just fulfilling compliance.

Finally, AdvanceTrack’s conference is aiming to enlighten and inform practitioners about how you approach transforming your practice. You hear from experts about building a vision, and inspiring you to make change happen. If you’d like to find out more, please click here. If you’d like to speak to us about your practice, please click here.

It’s been quite a week for the accountancy profession. It’s been one in which (I hope) AdvanceTrack has played its part – and I hope some certainty has been provided to outsourcing as a critical part in the profession’s future.

The second week of May saw what were the first ‘unrestricted’ major events for accountants take place in the UK since Covid-19 struck.

We hosted our AdvanceTrack conference on 10 May, which then led into Accountex across 11 and 12 May.

Technology tends to ‘leap forward’, certainly when it comes to its use in professional services. And there are a number of reasons for that, but primarily it comes down to firms becoming ‘used’ to doing things in certain ways, for certain clients.

For the accountancy profession, change is iterative and focused on the client i.e. keeping up to date with the latest accounting and tax legislation and their impact. Every so often, the changes put in place are seismic enough to drive firms to change how they do things. The push for online tax filing over the past 20 years has seen paper-based returns (almost) a thing of the past.

More recently, disruption came in the form of the pandemic, which required us all to embrace digital communication beyond just emails.

The conferences held last week were enormous fun and also insightful. Meeting people face-to-face always is, even more so after such a long hiatus. The AdvanceTrack conference’s theme was about you, your team and your practice growing. Discussion about ‘value-added’ services was never far away.

MTD to advisory?

Accountex was very much of a similar vein, there was plenty of discussion around ‘how can I manage Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self-Assessment?’

I believe that growing your practice, while ‘dealing with MTD’ can be dealt with in similar ways. And that’s because the issues are similar. For advisory services, broadening your offering requires efficiencies and process – these in turn free up resource to get to know existing (or new) clients better – to have the conversations that open the door to new things.

MTD certainly isn’t as much ‘fun’ – or, it seems on the face of it that there’s not a lot of positives to be gleaned from many of your clients increasing the amount of reporting they have to undertake. Your people are not in a position to quadruple the amount of prepping and checking they can do. However, increasing the number of touchpoints with a client could well pay dividends longer-term if you can leverage that communication towards your service proposition.

Firms need to recruit both number-crunchers and those who can provide further analysis and ultimately higher-value services. For us at AdvanceTrack, we see our offering as critical in supporting practices – whether it’s gaining efficiencies or scaling up your service (both are interlinked).

Our tech and people enable firms to solve their recruitment woes, keep on top of new tech and processes, and ultimately providing the best client service. Don’t let the people war, or MTD, drag your practice down. Join the many others that are growing their offering by growing their links with us.

I’d be delighted to talk about what they’re doing and how you can do it too. Book a call. 

Vipul Sheth is founder and MD of AdvanceTrack Outsourcing

Conference season is fast-approaching… and that brings about a mix of emotions.

For some, it’s an exciting time to meet and greet, to find out about new technologies, and attend insightful sessions. It is a tiring time, too, and ‘conference fatigue’ can set in quite quickly.

While there were some events last year, they were very much within the context of Covid restrictions. This year feels like it will be the first conference season ‘proper’ since 2019.

I recently wrote a blog on why communication and strong relationships are absolutely vital to what we do at AdvanceTrack. It is therefore logical that myself and the team love to take the opportunities provided to meet people across at events time.

On 10 May we have our own annual conference, taking place at the National Gallery in London. We want you, your people and your practice to grow, and that will be the focus of discussions on the day. We’ve a host of speakers on board, including Paul Shrimpling, Matt Flanagan, and Aynsley Damery – while the major software platforms will also be represented.

Across 11-12 May we have the one and only Accountex. I’m really looking forward to discussing tech and outsourcing as ‘essential components of a great practice’, from the Accountants in Practice Theatre at 1600.

Then there’s Xerocon across 20-21 July, where we shall also be exhibiting.

Some people struggle to value the opportunity to attend such events. And, as I mentioned earlier, they can be very tiring – and chaotic.

Ultimately, it’s impossible to learn about new technology, understand how it will fit into your organisation, meet vendors and service providers, and sign on the dotted line, all in a day. Attending a conference gives you an opportunity to build some insight, network with people you haven’t seen for a while (if at all), and look into the whites of the eyes of vendors – perhaps you have a tough question to put to them, or need something clarifying about their proposition.

In others words, these events are stepping stones in a process, and should also be viewed as supporting your continuing professional development (and your practice’s development).

Whatever stage you are at in your thinking, we would love to see you and have a chat. I’m out and about at these conferences so there are plenty of chances to catch up.

We understand that, as practitioners, a huge part of your offering is around communication and insight – we’d love to share some of our thoughts and advice with you. See you there!