The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many hail a huge shift towards digital and technological solutions, from our private lives to our businesses. While this trend is by no means born of the crisis, it has certainly been accelerated by it.

Digital accounting solutions have been around for some time, and with the government’s Making Tax Digital initiative into its second year, the time has never been more right to consider your accounting systems and what other purposes your accountant can fulfil for you beyond a mere number cruncher.

Last month we caught up with Joe David, Founder and CEO of Nephos, a data focussed accounting firm that specialises in digital solutions and financial advice. Joe explained how your accountant should be helping you with more than just VAT returns: “the accountants that will be successful will be the ones that genuinely and truly believe in business advisory”.

So just how important is an accountant in the current climate – and how could you get the most from your relationship with yours?

Digital transformation is nothing new

Joe started Nephos six and a half years ago, with the aim to offer something different in the world of accounting. The team’s focus is on supporting clients in their digital transition, helping them transform into more efficient businesses that can focus on their development. Everything is done online through cloud-based systems (in their case Xero) – paperwork isn’t even allowed into the office.

Embracing digital solutions, Joe explains, means they’re able to quickly assess your financial outlook. This was particularly important when COVID-19 came along. Joe stresses the importance of being set up digitally in how he was able to help his clients. Being ‘data live’, it was much easier and clearer for the Nephos team to assess their clients’ financial outlooks. They were, according to Joe, able to be proactive – something that’s been more important than ever over the past few months.

At the start of lockdown he created a manual of government measures for his team to use to help their clients. It was a critical time to get talking to every business they work with and offer advice and guidance about everything from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to the different kinds of loans and grants available, and proved themselves to be more valuable than their accounting software.

Get the most from your resources

Modern accountancy isn’t just compliance, VAT returns and inputting numbers into templates at the end of the financial year. Nowadays, your accountant should be a trusted adviser, says Joe. You’re trusting the financials of your business with someone who’s seen data for many others. This gives them a huge amount of context that allows them to evaluate your information and offer sound business advice.

Joe’s clear on the fact that Nephos represents more than the traditional idea of an accountant. “We shouldn’t be number crunchers. We shouldn’t be just processing data for people. We should be analysing that, and using our skills and our knowledge to actually empower business owners to grow their businesses. And that’s really what our philosophy is.”

Being proactive adds value

It’s clear that analysis and advice are at the core of what they do simply by looking at the business’s name. ‘Nephos’ comes from the term nephologist – someone who studies cloud data and predicts future weather patterns. Joe and his team are using their own cloud data to predict the future of businesses and offer guidance proactively and reactively.

Clients will come to Joe for financial advice, and he makes a lot of recommendations on how to best manage cash flow. With the breadth of businesses he’s worked with over the years, he’s able to tailor his advice to fit individuals and the nuances of their enterprises.

Trusted advisers for the future

The most important thing in this climate is making sure you can hold onto your customers. Joe stresses that if your customers value what you can do for them, they won’t want to lose you. Offering help and advice proactively will build your customer relationships.

Having this advice from someone you interact with day-to-day may pay off more than simply using your accountant as a year-end VAT calculator. The rise of technology in this industry has enabled the accountant to be more valuable than ever. Trust them just as much as your bank manager to help you make sensible and informed financial decisions.

About Nephos

*At Nephos we believe that there’s a better way to grow your business. It’s time to bring your accounting into the digital realm, giving you greater control and clarity. The word ‘nephos’ is Greek for cloud, and nephologists study clouds to understand weather patterns. Like nephologists, we focus on the data held within the cloud, looking for patterns and movements that allow us to make the right financial forecasts and predictions.

Nephos was built on the principle that technology can, and should, work harder for your business. Compliance is just one side of the coin – we don’t just help our clients to make sure they’re following the rules, we use our knowledge and insights to ensure they’re building for the future.*

If you’re looking for support or guidance on how to digitise your business you could get in touch with Nephos via leanne@nephosaccountants.com or on 01242 260 590.