As a Midlander, and a keen sportsman (in my youth…actually into my 40’s), attending the Commonwealth Games was a no-brainer.

There was Eilish McColgan and Katarina Johnson-Thompson, both recovering from injuries and form to win thrilling golds. But, in the glow of these triumphs, our day-to-day living is getting harder – certainly more expensive.

Interest rates are ticking up, as are inflation and energy prices. A recession and rising costs equals unpalatable stagflation.

What does this all mean? You may ask. I certainly used my love of football last week to write about the Lionesses’s Euro win and the impact of vision and strategy to conquer all.

Well, this blog – as illustrated by many of the gold medal winners – is about determination, stamina and temperament. Accounting practitioners have to stay cool and calm – particularly when dealing with clients who are in a parlous financial condition. Accountants do have a grittier side though, one where they can tough things out – certainly many of you drag clients and the team through the 31 January self-assessment filing deadline (as well as showing the stamina to do it every year).

But where does toughing it out lead to? You can’t do it forever. Whether it’s the clients you deal with, the people that you work with, or the way that you’re working, sometimes things need to change or improve.

Understanding, accepting and appreciating that things are tough, is tough in itself. Whether you are tired, or your team are struggling to work as optimally as you’d like them to, is a big step in making things better.

After a tumultuous 30 months, it’s scary that there are more tough times ahead. But some of that Commonwealth Games-winning grit and determination – alongside some clever tweaking of how you operate your practice – will pay dividends.

AdvanceTrack works with practices that have survived the pandemic and come out the other side, those looking to grow and improve. I expect that direction will not change dramatically, despite the economic headwind.

If you’re determined to push your firm through that headwind and provide a gold medal service, then we’d love to help you achieve that.

Vipul Sheth is founder and MD of AdvanceTrack Outsourcing.

If you’d like to speak to us about improving your practice’s processes and workflow, contact us here.

Accountex Summit UK 2020

The recent online Accountex UK Summit saw AdvanceTrack MD Vipul Sheth lead a 45-minute session giving a really concise and useful roundup of what goes on in the outsourcing industry, and how firms can make outsourcing work for them.

In ‘The good, bad and ugly of offshoring and outsourcing’, Vipul started with ‘the ugly’. There are lots of horror stories told by accountants who have had bad experiences with outsourcing.

“One of the things we often hear is: it doesn’t work. In many cases that can be true,” said Sheth. “One reason is a lack of tech. A lot of people in the industry don’t have the tech to manage outsourcing effectively – whether that’s the firm, or sometimes the outsourcer or offshorer. Without tech it can’t be managed successfully, or at scale.”

The ‘real horror’ is the lack of security protocols in place. “We do hear of outsourcers with little regard to these,” he added. When it comes to ‘the bad’, poor communication between the outsourcer and accountant is at the fore. “We’ve improved over the years,” said Sheth.

Secondly, outsourcing can be seen as a short-term solution to a workflow ‘problem’. “However, this means it’s not usually managed and put together effectively. Outsourcing is not a magic wand to ‘wave’; there needs to be thought.”

For ‘the good’, Sheth said that “we want accountants to go and help their clients more”. “What can you use your extra time created by outsourcing to do? Clients really want your help – and if you can demonstrate value then they will rarely question their fee.

The firms we serve have increased revenues through the pandemic. “They have capacity to drive growth, and offer new services. We’re seeing them offer bookkeeping in the cloud; lots of virtual FD/FC services – getting under the bonnet of client data and feeding back analysis to clients. It gives them a place in clients’ ‘boardroom’,” he concluded.

• Visit https://summit-uk.accountex.co.uk to access this archived recording, along with all the other sessions