By Neil Askew, Managing Director, Askews Accountants
At Askews, we use the ground breaking SAGE One accounting software package to support our firm’s online accounting offering.
SAGE One is an online accounting and payroll solution for small business owners and their accountants. It utilises the progressive technology of cloud computing to enable easy deployment with no software to install on site. The system runs on very secure and robust servers that are designed and optimised to provide maximum up time. It provides online accounts, cashbook and payroll services to small businesses, with an Accountant Edition version for accountants to go in and securely access and work with clients’ data.
We use the SOAP (Sage Online Accounting Programme) version of the software, which is a support programme that enables accountants (like us) to offer the product of SAGE One to customers. Using the software, we can provide a range of services to a wide portfolio of customers.
Cloud computing has brought a new way of thinking into an old profession; notably the ability for businesses to outsource their business financial tasks, which reduces business costs and streamlines financial processes – which is perfect for small businesses who need to maximise cashflow. Also, this solution eliminates the need for internal resources for managing financial and administrative tasks.
All that is needed to run SAGE One is an internet connection and a Web Browser with support for all the leading browsers on both Windows PCs and Apple Mac systems.
The software is also accessible via mobile devices, such as tablets, which is perfect for tradesman, as it means they can draw up and present invoices from their handheld, as soon as they finish the job. This then reduces the chance of them making errors and speeds up billing and cash flow. Invoices can be raised by Sage One Accounts for both product sales and services, which are created in PDF format to send out via email or hard copy, and there are four templates for the business to choose from to which they can add their company logo.
Sage Pay is the online payment gateway that customers can use to receive payments, and they also have the added option to create a “Pay Now” link on their invoices.
Sage One allows clients to run their business accounts from work, home or on the go. The real selling point is that you can invite others to view your accounts and provide valuable real-time advice. The cloud computing element means that data is completely secure even if your computer is lost or stolen.
We have found that with HMRC compliance requirements are increasing and cash flow is becoming ever more important, so small businesses are looking more and more towards the ease and flexibility of online accountancy.
SAGE One also makes sure that the quality of a company’s accounts is not compromised just because they need a more cost efficient solution. And it also provides timely, relevant, and sound advice.
The way we operate with the SAGE One application is already proving successful with the business receiving multiple requests each day. We are converting between 25 to 30 per cent of the enquiries we receive.
Each month, clients send in their documents electronically and we process everything. All bookkeeping is completed, right through to management accounts and if required final year end accounts. One of our existing clients said since they have adopted this application that the level of service has not been sacrificed. The only difference is that everything is dealt with online which makes the whole process much more efficient for the business.
Using the system, clients are able to upload their data securely giving the accountant, access to the same data instantly. The mobile element means clients can present invoices as soon as they finish a job, speeding up billing and cash flow.
We find that this application is making life easier for our clients with regards to their accounts and bookkeeping. I think it is very important that accountants and SMEs really exploit the hoard of benefits that cloud computing can bring to a business. We believe that it really offers greater efficiency and creates opportunities for company expansion.
The service is completely easy to use as clients readily take responsibility for much of their own data entry, meaning that we can spend more time on the more productive areas by offering expert accounting and business advice by monitoring what is actually happening in their company. We’ve found that is makes running a business a lot calmer and cuts down on administrative time that they normally spend on processing their accounts.
Whenever problems do arise for business owners then the accountant is able to access their data remotely to help figure out what is going on, and can get a realistic picture of the problem. All of this is done without disrupting their working, offering confidence and ease of mind.