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Why accountants should have a social media presence

If you’re sceptical about the significance of having a social media presence for your accounting practice, you’re not alone. Doing business and being social are somewhat contradictory, aren’t they? However, research shows that clients will choose a business they know and trust. Social media marketing allows you to identify, target and attract the very audience you seek, and forge a relationship with them. Gary Epstein, Managing Director at EasyBiz Technologies, urges accounting professionals to realise the critical value in creating a social media presence for their business.

Studies show that many small businesses do not use social media to market their enterprise – some don’t see the benefit of it and others struggle to get started. Many business-owners argue that word-of-mouth is the best way to market a business – and this is true, to a point.

“The power of a social media presence, however, can mean the difference between running a successful business and expanding a business exponentially, thus enabling accounting professionals to expand their role to become financial advisors, to offer seminars or workshops, to become the go-to authority on all things financial, and obviously to extend their client base significantly, says Gary Epstein.”

There are many benefits to having an online presence to market your business, but here are just 10:

1.  You can talk about your business. Inspire your followers with the story of your successes and failures and how you built your business. This creates awareness and adds more meaning to what you offer. Epstein advises: “Challenge yourself to master the art of telling stories that relate to your service. These stories will help your customer relate to you. Also, share your news. Let your followers know about any new services, products, updates and new appointments.”

2.    Using social media is one of the cheapest ways to market your practice. You don’t have to use paid-for advertising – you can grow your following just by being consistent and posting valuable and relatable content. Make use of SEO: use trending keywords to enhance your rankings. This increases traffic to your profile, which leads people to your website. “Use hashtags sparingly,” says Epstein. “Ensure that you’re putting them on the words that will be most effective. Choose words which people will most likely search for, for example #2021budgetspeech or #2021taxreturns.” However, if you do have a budget for advertising, paid-for ads increase your marketing and digital growth quicker, and allow you to target your audience more precisely. Epstein adds: “Build a landing page that you can direct social media traffic to. This will help you increase conversions by way of a call to action. You can also include buttons on your blog and website to display how many shares your content has achieved. These buttons are convenient and allow for quick sharing.”

3.   Clients must think of you first. You can build your image so that it becomes the first business on people’s minds when they think of accounting services. Staying connected with your followers and creating a bond is key to converting followers into potential buyers and then loyal customers. Epstein advises: “Consider building your own Facebook or LinkedIn group about the accounting industry. You can see conversations about the industry as a whole that can help market your services. Contribute articles of authority on accounting, for example, or the benefits of online accounting software versus desktop programs.”

4.    Learn about the strategies of your competitors. See what they post and which posts do well. Read the questions and their answers and determine if your business could provide better answers and support. Analyse their customer service so you can do it better.

5.   Getting the data on your customers’ activities is crucial. The tools on social media platforms allow you to see how many visitors were interested in the content you shared, how many clicked on a call to action, and how many actually want your services. With this info, you can target your message to a specific audience. Epstein says: “Make it a part of your daily routine to do some ‘social listening’ and see what people are saying in your industry.”

6.   Attract business clients through their personal interests. This will help you target their likes, dislikes and interests, so as to attract such customers. They may be interested in consulting an accountant, but you can attract their attention through their personal interests or financial topics relevant to them. Epstein advises: “Be sure to keep your loyal audience engaged and happy. Offer promos and discounts, add-on services or a free workshop, and give away inexpensive gifts relating to your business to make a long-lasting impression.”

7.   Don’t confuse ads with content. With digital marketing, you can reach thousands of people by simply targeting ads, thereby reducing your advertising costs. The time that users spend on social media increases the possibility of their seeing your ad or your profile, visiting your profile, and eventually becoming buyers. “Don’t write content that sounds like an advert. If you want to advertise on social media, you should, but make sure it’s paid advertising and that it looks professional and gets a good reach,” says Epstein.

8.      Relationships are everything. A business that connects the most with its customers is a business that grows significantly, because customers get to know and trust you. Create a friendly relationship with your followers, answer queries, and offer help. Customers want to be heard and to be offered assistance. This is one of the most effective ways of getting to know your audience better, to hone your marketing strategy, and to turn potential buyers into customers.

9.  To create a large customer base, capitalise first on the clients who already know your business. Then create visually appealing and engaging content that will attract potential new clients. Keep reminding them of your existence. Creating awareness will help clients relate to your business or the content you create. So, you create further engagement as well as new opportunities to connect with potential clients, because they will recognise your business.

10. Promote your services. It’s easy when you can put up professional images and details of your services for people to engage with. There are many platforms and groups within those platforms where you can advertise your business. Epstein advises: “Share stories of clients who use your services. If they give you great feedback, share it! It’ll spread the message that your business is good enough for someone to give you positive feedback.”

There is definitely merit in including social media in marketing strategies, which also need to be targeted to specific audiences to be effective.

How technology is shaping the accounting industry

The past few years have seen business technology and systems develop at an exponential rate. The accounting industry, specifically, has harnessed this technology to grow in leaps and  bounds. Remote assistance and automation have opened a new world for industry professionals seeking to grow their firms virtually and allowing them to serve more clients in less time than before.

This scenario has compelled the small business accountant to evolve beyond number crunching and source document capturing to the role of a full service business advisor, who is able to share reporting in real time and give business owners greater visual insight into their cash flow.

Data driven analytics provide the business owner with previously unimagined insight and drastically increased decision-making abilities, enabling them to pivot and focus on areas of concern with greater efficiency than ever before. The 4IR landscape is bursting with opportunity and allows for a symbiotic relationship between client and accountant to drive business growth further than ever before.

Jono Williams, Sales Manager at EasyBiz Technologies says, as with life, not all business needs are the same.  “Some require nuanced software to work to the best of their abilities. Third party applications are therefore the limbs of accounting software in the sense that where the software is at the heart of solid financial bookkeeping, third party apps assist in aspects that are specific to a particular business niche and might not be found in the core functions.”

Third party apps have given consumers a way to keep their bookkeeping processes intact without having to resort to inferior products or an unstable mix of software platforms to achieve uniformity. “For example, a business that needs to account for the entire manufacturing process, does not necessarily need to invest in a much larger accounting product; it could simply bolt on an app to its core product. Apps provide seamless data sharing across multitudes of platforms and data sources in one place – your accounting software profile,” adds Williams.

Accounting software such as QuickBooks Online has come a long way since its inception a few years ago and is constantly at the forefront of technological advancements and new developments in the accounting industry. With most of the world moving to cloud-based systems, data security is important, especially in the financial services sector. As a result, the software’s developments include two-step authentication to keep data secure. The software has made advances in integration with banking institutions, providing clients with an up-to-date live feed of transactions. The live feed has given clients the ability to automate much of the bank reconciliation process, making the former time-intensive exercise a few clicks away from being complete each day.

Looking ahead, there are a host of features and system improvements on the cards for the new year – existing users will be the first to experience these features as they are released. One recent update worth mentioning is the cash flow planner, which was released recently. It   gives the business owner insight into the future of the business by analysing the trends of the company’s financial history.

Williams says EasyBiz Technologies has witnessed a major shift in how businesses interact with their clients. “They are also finding new ways to deal with potential suppliers and investment partners. The age of sharing and transparency is upon us, so as a business owner, you should expect your clients to ask more of you as a business. In the same way, you should be asking more of your accountant.”

With the current rate of technological advancement, he suggests that businesses look for ways to get paid faster and ensure clients have the best possible experience when dealing with them, such as, system automated personalised contact features, which help professionalise operations as they grow.”

In today’s digital era, it is critical for businesses to have an online presence and to be able to serve their clients remotely. A cloud-based practice is specifically designed to help accountants meet the expectations and needs of their clients.

“While not everyone has embraced the move to online, there has been a massive surge in accounting practices migrating their firms and clients to the cloud, further cementing the industry’s role as a pillar for small business success. Those who stand by idly as the world turns a new leaf in the way it handles our business, will surely be left behind,” concludes Williams.

The benefits of online vs desktop

2020 has forced businesses to embrace the power of the pivot and adapt to the changing business landscape. Technological advances have presented a lifeline for many industries, especially during the pandemic, and the accounting sector is no different.

According to Bridget du Toit, Head of Services at EasyBiz Technologies, the accounting sector has seen cloud-based online solutions quickly replacing their conventional desktop predecessors, with many pointing to the intuitiveness of online as a major contributor to their business success.

“Online accounting platforms have proven their worth as go-to solutions for all accounting needs, providing a seamless, efficient, effective and convenient answer to addressing many of the monotonous tasks related to desktop accounting,” she explains.

One of the greatest features of online solutions is the ability to work from anywhere and at any time, which means being able to send invoices, reconcile accounts and even generate reports from the convenience of laptops, tablets or even smartphones. In addition, many online accounting software solutions realise that while the majority of users are technologically adept, not everyone utilises the same platforms.

“Some cloud-based accounting software comes with cross-platform functionalities, meaning they allow for easy access on PC or MAC platforms. Additional benefits of moving online include features such as user-friendly mobile apps, which make capturing a breeze, allowing users to simply take a picture of their receipts on their smartphones or tablets and attach it to any transaction,” says Du Toit.

The technological advantages are numerous, including the ability for accountants to access client books remotely to address any questions, fix problems and ensure readiness for the tax season. They also allow business owners the ease of keeping abreast of their businesses by accessing customer information, identifying late invoices and more, directly on their smartphones.

The benefit of any online or cloud-based accounting software lies in the functionality and advantages that facilitate business continuity. They allow for fewer data entries, with the software automatically downloading and categorising bank and credit card transactions. This is beneficial as it reduces the need to upload manually, and gives users more time to focus on other aspects of their businesses.

“Online accounting software solutions, such as QuickBooks Online, release new versions of their software regularly, negating the need for users to constantly update as they reflect automatically online,” adds Du Toit. “Further, instead of manually sending transactions to clients, working online allows for recurring transactions to be automatically e-mailed to the client, with the user being copied in each mail.”

While desktop solutions show unbilled time and expenses, users are still required to manually bill the customer. Du Toit says working online gives users the ability to turn on a preference, which instructs the programme to bill customers automatically once the activity is assigned.

“It goes beyond simply showing when a transaction was created, modified or deleted; and indicates when a user logs in or out, or when account edits are made. It shows when a third-party accesses the data, bank transactions are downloaded, and those transactions are matched or added,” she explains.

“The benefits are endless and far outweigh the capabilities of desktop. Now is the time for businesses to look to affordable, efficient and user-friendly solutions that ensure they thrive instead of simply surviving,” concludes Du Toit.

Accountants need to embrace five new trends

Accountants are reinventing themselves. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated this process of renewal, convincing even the most traditional-style accountants that the time to adapt is now and it is more urgent than ever before.

Head of services at EasyBiz Technologies, Bridget du Toit, has identified several global trends that accountants are talking about. She has compiled these from accountants themselves, as well as from attending a spate of industry-related webinars during the Covid-19 lockdown.

1. Move to the cloud, or move over

Du Toit says cloud-based accounting solutions have gained enormous momentum in recent months. “The concept of using shared resources, including software that runs on a provider’s server, and being able to access that information in the cloud has made accounting more accessible than ever.”

The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown have played a significant role in compelling accountants to embrace the cloud.

The cloud also brings virtual platforms that are useful for accountants such as document scanning applications. For example, Receipt Bank allows receipts to be captured using a smart phone. These are then automatically populated into a business’s accounting system, making the previously onerous task of capturing receipts fast and efficient.

Du Toit points out that the move away from buying and paying for software up-front to paying a monthly fee for cloud services is often resisted by many old-school accountants.

“However, once they fully grasp the advantages of the cloud – saving time and money, as well as the ability to operate virtually from anywhere, any time – they don’t need further convincing. The monthly fee also affords them the flexibility to stop the service at any time, whether it is to go back to their old ways of operating or to switch service providers,” she adds.

One of the greatest money saving advantages of cloud-based accounting is that the data disaster recovery plans of the past have become obsolete. “The cloud backs itself up. Accountants do not have to worry about paying service providers to back data up for them or maintain their servers. This is especially useful in a country where the threat of load shedding and power surges are a constant worry,” notes du Toit.

2. Seize outsourcing opportunities

Outsourcing is a growing trend in the accountant’s world. Instead of employing accountants, businesses are enlisting the services of accountants to take care of certain aspects of their finances – and sometimes their entire financial function.

“This trend is not limited to small and medium enterprises,” says du Toit. “Large businesses are outsourcing entire accounting departments so that they can focus on their core business.”
This presents a massive opportunity for accountants to use their resources smartly and efficiently, and to charge the customer a monthly retainer fee. Not only does outsourcing give companies access to experienced and qualified accountants, it ensures their services are scalable and consistent.

“Instead of adding someone to the payroll each time they land a large client or introduce a new product, businesses are passing the additional workload onto their accountants. The accountants, in turn, have to scale their businesses. And, of course the best way to do so is via automation.”

3. Brush up on data analysis skills

Information is key today. Google, Facebook and Instagram have prompted the desire for immediate gratification. Instead of simply presenting financials, accountants are now expected to conduct data analysis that allows the customer to make better financial decisions.

“Accountants generate a lot of information, which becomes a crucial component of any business’s decision-making processes. Analysis of information allows businesses to determine whether they have too many or too few employees or whether they are spending too much money on one thing and not another. It helps them to refine processes and become more efficient and productive.”

4. Embrace social media

In the past, accountants relied largely on recommendations and word of mouth to advertise their services. Today, they are realising the benefits of integrating social media into their business models.

“When companies look for accounting services, the first place they look is online. They look for reviews, likes and recommendations on social media – either from their peers or their customers. This is where the interaction is happening. Accountants who save money by moving to the cloud should consider spending those savings on implementing a comprehensive social media plan,” says du Toit.

5. Keep abreast of accounting standards

Accounting standards are constantly being developed, revised or refined. Before the advent of social media, digital advertising and shared economies, these changes had a significant impact on accounting professionals, who had to wade through big dossiers or attend lectures to keep up.

Now these updates are posted online, giving accountants immediate access to information, peer reviews and related industry insights. Consider the Covid-19 Temporary Employer / Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) Directives – government announced the benefit, which accountants had to then access online and get their heads around while working from home.

Small business owner? This is how to be tax compliant

As a small business owner, you need to ensure that your company is tax compliant. But with so many other things to focus on, and not being a tax specialist yourself, you may have overlooked something.

If your business isn’t tax compliant, you could land up indebted to SARS or, even worse, you could become liable for penalties. To avoid this, we asked tax specialists for guidelines.

Tip: Taking out a personal loan to help move your business forward is considered good debt.

The importance of tax compliance

According to Johann Benade, associate director of tax at BDO, the importance of tax compliance in small businesses cannot be overemphasized.

“Although many small business owners are aware of this requirement, they are not sure what they should do in order to become tax compliant,” says Benade.

“SARS is aware of this need and has recently issued the latest edition of its Tax Guide for Small Businesses, which sets out the requirements that small business owners should comply with in order to be compliant,” he explains.

He adds that the guide also contains an overview of the various taxes that are applicable to small businesses, and an explanation of the tax rates, rebates, and allowances that may be claimed.

Common tax mistakes you should avoid

According to Nadine Chetty, co-founder at Ecomm Accounting Solutions, small business owners are often bullied by larger corporates into registering for VAT when they do not need to.

“They do this just to get contracts, which is incorrect. Not only does it put a higher admin burden on them but it also imposes a higher accounting burden on them,” says Chetty.

Another common mistake is that some small business owners don’t register for PAYE when they need to. She explains that they often draw salaries without informing their accountants, which leaves huge discrepancies between what their declared salaries are and what was drawn.

According to Sarvesh Chinnapa, financial manager at EasyBiz Technologies, there are three common mistakes that Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) make:

1. Inaccurate accounting information

The accuracy of the underlying accounting information and supporting documentation is directly responsible for the integrity of a taxpayer’s income tax return.

In the case of SMEs, this integrity is often queried as a result of a lean accounting function and confusion in distinguishing between the financial affairs of the business owner and the business.

SARS tax auditors are first and foremost focused on testing the reliability of accounting books and records. For example, they review cash accounting records for unusually large or ad hoc payments, on the basis that these often represent private expenses which have been processed as business expenses and claimed for tax purposes.

2. Not taking ownership of tax

Business owners often leave tax to their accountant. It’s important for business owners to be aware of tax submission deadlines and to ensure that tax is paid within these prescribed deadlines. The cost of these mistakes can be high, especially for elements such as the late submission and payment of provisional income tax payments or the submission and payment of monthly PAYE.

When business cash flows are under pressure, tax payments are often the first to be “put on hold” with direct business operating expenses taking precedence. If this persists, expensive non-deductible late payment penalties and interest accumulate quickly until the outstanding tax capital amount is paid.

READ MORE: Are you indebted to SARS? Do this to avoid penalties

3. Missing the SME tax detail

There are a number of less obvious tax regulations that SMEs operating in a close corporation or private company structure typically fail to apply. Most of these relate to fringe benefits arising from business expenses and transactions paid by the employer company, such as:

  • Quantification and reporting of taxable fringe benefits provided to employees or directors. An example here includes the use of company-owned cars, the use of assets, low or no-interest loans and the payment of employee debts. These cash-free benefits require monthly PAYE withholding tax as well as monthly or annual tax reporting to SARS. The failure to attend to these brings substantial penalties and interest arrears upon a business.
  • Low-interest loans or even “no interest” lending advanced by a company to shareholders or related parties may attract secondary tax of 10% on companies, or a withholding of dividends tax of 10%.

Which taxes should you pay attention to?

Chinnapa says that complying with your tax obligations as a small business has been made a lot easier over the past few years.

“If you’re starting out and need to register as a company, you will have to contact the Company and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). Once a business has been registered with CIPC, SARS will automatically generate an Income Tax reference number,” says Chinnapa.

She outlines the following taxes that are relevant to SMEs:

1. Turnover tax

Turnover tax is a simplified tax system for small businesses with a qualifying turnover of not more than R1 million per annum. It is based on the taxable turnover of a business and is available to sole proprietors (individuals), partnerships, close corporations, companies, and co-operatives.

Turnover tax takes the place of VAT (in the instance that you have decided not to elect into the VAT system), provisional tax, income tax, capital gains tax, secondary tax on companies, and dividends tax. Qualifying businesses pay a single tax instead of various other taxes. It’s also elective, which means that you choose whether to participate.

2. Value Added Tax (VAT)

It is mandatory for any business to register for VAT if the income earned in any consecutive 12-month period exceeded or is likely to exceed R1 million. Any business may choose to register voluntarily if the income earned in the past 12-month period exceeded R50,000.

A small business that is registered as a micro-business under the Sixth Schedule of the Income Tax Act may also register for VAT and may elect to submit returns and payments every four months, ending on the last day of June, October, and February.

3. Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE)

According to law, an employer must register with SARS within 21 business days after becoming an employer, unless none of the employees are liable for normal tax.

READ MORE: Complete guide on personal income tax

4. Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)

This gives short-term relief to workers when they become unemployed or are unable to work because of maternity leave, adoption leave, or illness. It also provides relief to the dependents of a deceased contributor. All employees, as well as their employers, are responsible for contributions to the UIF.

5. Skills Development Levy (SDL)

This is a levy imposed to encourage learning and development in South Africa and is determined by an employer’s salary bill. The funds are to be used to develop and improve the skills of employees.

Chetty recommends that small business owners invest in cloud accounting software with an accountant who understands cloud accounting, where you should be able to manage your cash flow and taxes daily. Have a look at this article to find out how to choose a tax practitioner that’s right for you.

“Paying Tax in South Africa is not a choice. It is a legal requirement,” says Chetty.

Have you tried our income tax calculator? Find out how much tax you’ll pay on your ideal salary.

Easy Biz Technology’s Cloud Accounting

Your business needs an accountant

This is the primary reason why you have to hire a professional accountant to look after everything that surrounds the business’ financial environment – accounts, ledgers, the cash-books, daily transactions, and expenses. Having a professional account to manage your finances also reduces the potential for your business to be at risk financially, because it removes the possibility of inaccuracies occurring.

Managing accounts is not an easy task. At the initial stages, it might be simple, but as the business grows, it gets complicated. Paying suppliers, remunerating employees, and managing everyday expenses efficiently are only possible with the services of a qualified accountant.

Once your business is off the ground, there are some specific actions an accountant can take including explaining to you the financial statements and inflows and outflows of cash and other financial assets and liabilities of the business.

A professional accountant will also help you in overseeing the process of payroll and other payment processes of the business. In addition, the accountant will advise on tax-related issues and payment procedures.

When you are ready to expand your business, a professional and experienced accountant can help you with tips and advice to assist with the process of expansion. These tips and tricks include providing you with a comprehensive insight into the existing cash flow trends, management of inventory, pricing of products, and determining if the business is ready for an expansion.

Furthermore, a competent accountant can assist you with financial forecasts that will help you with making necessary decisions regarding the future of your business.

The accountant will not only manage an efficient bookkeeping service for your business, but will also close out the books or journals and complete the financial reports at the end of each financial year. Maintaining accurate records of financial inflows and outflows will help you avoid being audited by the South African Revenue Service (SARS). In addition to completing your tax returns for you, an accountant can monitor your tax affairs and advise you on any tax-related matters or decisions.

Hiring a qualified professional to focus on your accounts and financial needs enables you to focus your time on growing and tending to your business and helps you avoid any major financial crises.

Seven Trends That Accountants Are Embracing

Accountants are reinventing themselves. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated this process of renewal, convincing even the most traditional-style accountants that the time to adapt is now and it’s more urgent than ever before.

Head of Services at EasyBiz Technologies, Bridget du Toit, has identified seven global trends that accountants are talking about. She has compiled these from accountants themselves, as well as from attending a spate of industry-related webinars during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Move to the cloud, or move over

Du Toit says cloud-based accounting solutions have gained enormous momentum in recent months. “The concept of using shared resources, including software that runs on a provider’s server, and being able to access that information in the cloud has made accounting more accessible than ever.”

The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown have played a significant role in compelling accountants to embrace the cloud.
The cloud also brings virtual platforms that are useful for accountants such as document scanning applications. For example, Receipt Bank allows receipts to be captured using a smartphone. These are then automatically populated into a business’s accounting system, making the previously onerous task of capturing receipts fast and efficient.

Du Toit points out that the move away from buying and paying for software up-front to paying a monthly fee for cloud services is often resisted by many old-school accountants.

“However, once they fully grasp the advantages of the cloud – saving time and money, as well as the ability to operate virtually from anywhere, any time – they don’t need further convincing. The monthly fee also affords them the flexibility to stop the service at any time, whether it is to go back to their old ways of operating or to switch service providers,” she adds.

One of the greatest money-saving advantages of cloud-based accounting is that the data disaster recovery plans of the past have become obsolete. “The cloud backs itself up. Accountants don’t have to worry about paying service providers to back data up for them or maintain their servers. This is especially useful in a country where the threat of load shedding and power surges are a constant worry,” notes du Toit.

Seize outsourcing opportunities

Outsourcing is a growing trend in the accountant’s world. Instead of employing accountants, businesses are enlisting the services of accountants to take care of certain aspects of their finances – and sometimes their entire finance function.

“This trend is not limited to small and medium enterprises,” says du Toit. “Large businesses are outsourcing entire accounting departments so that they can focus on their core business.”

This presents a massive opportunity for accountants to use their resources smartly and efficiently, and to charge the customer a monthly retainer fee. Not only does outsourcing give companies access to experienced and qualified accountants, but it also ensures their services are scalable and consistent.

“Instead of adding someone to the payroll each time they land a large client or introduce a new product, businesses are passing the additional workload onto their accountants. The accountants, in turn, have to scale their businesses. And, of course, the best way to do so is via automation.”

Brush up on data analysis skills

Information is key today. Google, Facebook and Instagram have prompted the desire for immediate gratification. Instead of simply presenting financials, accountants are now expected to conduct data analysis that allows the customer to make better financial decisions.

“Accountants generate a lot of information, which becomes a crucial component of any business’s decision-making processes. Analysis of information allows businesses to determine whether they have too many or too few employees or whether they are spending too much money on one thing and not another. It helps them to refine processes and become more efficient and productive.”

Embrace social media

In the past, accountants relied largely on recommendations and word of mouth to advertise their services. Today, they are realising the benefits of integrating social media into their business models.

“When companies look for accounting services, the first place they look is online. They look for reviews, likes and recommendations on social media – either from their peers or their customers. This is where the interaction is happening. Accountants who save money by moving to the cloud should consider spending those savings on implementing a comprehensive social media plan,” says du Toit.

Keep abreast of accounting standards

Accounting standards are constantly being developed, revised or refined. Before the advent of social media, digital advertising and shared economies, these changes had a significant impact on accounting professionals, who had to wade through big dossiers or attend lectures to keep up.

Now, these updates are posted online, giving accountants immediate access to information, peer reviews and related industry insights. Consider the Covid-19 Temporary Employer / Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) Directives – the government announced the benefit, which accountants had to then access online and get their heads around while working from home.

Be proactive, not reactive

“Today there is a growing trend towards proactive accounting. With more accountants expected to play a role in businesses’ decision-making processes, they have to understand the potential implications of any significant business initiatives their customers might want to undertake.

“In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, should the business keep its building or retrench people. What are the possible implications? Increasingly, accountants are expected to give their input, meaning they need to have full insight into the financial data.”

The new ‘mobile’ accountant

The days of expecting accountants to be at a business’s physical beck and call are long gone. Everything is conducted electronically and all traditional paper-based invoices and receipts are a thing of the past.

Enter ‘mobile’ accountants. They have access to software that helps them work remotely. They are able to service more customers or fewer customers – but more in-depth – depending on how they want to structure their businesses.

“Some of the accountants we deal with choose to service a niche market. They either take on more customers in their specific niche or they give more attention to fewer customers in their niche, becoming more entrenched in the day to day running of their businesses. And it’s all done remotely using team sharing and remote collaboration tools,” concludes du Toit.

Her advice to accountants is not to be scared to reinvent themselves. “I’ll give an example. An accountant who has been with us for a very long time was highly resistant to moving online. He found it scary and overwhelming. When lockdown happened, he finally decided to dip his toes in the ‘online’ water.

“We took him on a journey, helped him get an online accounting qualification and his social media profile up and running. He has voiced his delight at how much easier things are, how the shackles have come off. When I asked him if he would ever go back to his old ways, his response was that he should never have been so fearful in the first place and made the move to online sooner. To me, this proves that if accountants can transcend their fear of the unknown, they will not experience a minute of regret,” she concludes.

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Please fill out the form below to receive the trail demo link

Personal Information
Where a party receives any personal information (“PI”) related to the other party, the party who receives the PI, will comply with and have adequate measures in place to ensure that its employees, agents, subsidiaries and representatives comply with the provisions and obligations contained in the Protection of Personal Information Act, No. 4 of 2013. Any PI pertaining to one party which is required by the other party, will only be used by that other party for the purposes of this contract and will not be further processed or disclosed without the written consent of the latter and the recipient of that PI will take all reasonable precautions to preserve the integrity and prevent any corruption or loss, damage or destruction of the PI. If and when the contract is terminated, each party will, save to the extent that it is required to do otherwise by any applicable law, erase or cause to be erased, all PI and all copies of any part of the PI relating to the other party”.