Careful readers of our blog will have noticed, among the various important updates on topics such as security, budgets, and happy Christmases, an emerging theme has begun to … errm … emerge.
In an earlier post (HERE), we picked up the gauntlet thrown down by our professional counterparts at KPMG and explained why Aiteo Consulting must be the accounting firm you are looking for. It’s definitely worth a read, and not simply because the Guardian Small Business Network described it as a ‘masterclass in blog writing’.
@AiteoConsulting A masterclass in blog writing, well done!
— GuardianSmallBiz (@GdnSmallBiz) October 23, 2015
In a follow-up post (HERE), which we can now designate as the second of a slowly developing trilogy, we introduced to you the idea of getting value for money out of your accountant – a task many find slightly more difficult than getting blood out of a stone. Your accountant should play the role of your finance director and should be central to your business. But what does that mean in practice? And if you hire us, how would we do it?
So we come to the final step, and here’s hoping that, unlike the slightly more famous Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, we don’t actually end up with five instalments.
So let’s talk about value. Value means different things to different people (diffr’n’t strokes for diffr’n’t folks and all that). And in order to deliver you a service that you value, we need first to work out together what you’re looking for and tailor our service accordingly.
In order to do this effectively and efficiently, there is inevitably a degree of classification required, and in our universe, we’ve split our service offering into two categories.
Our Professional service is for those of you who typically sell your own personal services, and need accounting support to do it. You may work on your own account as a ‘sole trader’ or you may have incorporated a limited company through which to trade your services. Along the way, you may have heard about intermediary legislation, IR35, dividend tax, HMRC digital tax accounts, and you have a stack of receipts and invoices you’re not sure what to do with. By now we may have already have lost some of you in the terminology and you’re saying ‘HELP!’.
Alternatively you might be at the happier end of the spectrum, where you’re building up a nice cash pile in your business, and want to understand how best prevent HMRC – in the words of Lord Clyde in 1929, the then Scottish Lord Justice General – putting “the largest possible shovel in your stores.”
So how do we deliver this? As we will detail in another blog (you can click HERE once we’ve written it), we have a process that takes you from first enquiry through to bringing you on board as a client. This process is designed to make sure we can’t take you on until we understand you and your business. And for professionals, that’s usually one and the same thing. So we document it, agree it, and ensure that we understand your worry beads and expectations and give you a service accordingly. For professionals, this will almost always include relevant elements of the following:
- Accounting: your accounting and tax requirements covered. We’ll deploy a self-service accounting platform appropriate to your needs, and also offer you an optional extra application called Receipt Bank to manage your costs. (Click HERE for more detail about that.) We’ll set up a payroll for you and manage your dividend payments, if you need them.
- Finance: Included in our quotation will be a bi-annual finance review. We’ll sit down with you (on Skype) and review your progress, making sure you’re set for your tax and accounting year ends. This is the opportunity for you to raise any questions that are coming up. And in the meantime, if you have emerging questions, simply fire them across to us. You’ll find us responsive.
- Advisory: You may have questions arising during the year on other issues. What if I’m letting out a property that I own? What can I do to improve cashflow? Should I create a budget to measure my costs? We can help with this. If it’s a quick answer, we’ll include it as part of our ongoing relationship service. If it isn’t, we’ll sit down with you and agree an extra fee estimate before committing anything. And at some point, maybe you’ll decide to spread your wings, develop your business and start thinking about being just more than a one person band? Then we can help you with that transition.
Which leads us neatly on to our Enterprise offering.
Our classification is quite simple. If you’re not a Professional, you’re an Enterprise. However, as we’ve alluded to above, everyone’s on a journey, so we have helpfully sub-divided our proposition as follows:
- Enterprise Startup: here we provide the essentials for pre-funded, pre-revenue startups. At this stage, you’re often boot-strapped and getting things going in your own time – and, more importantly, with your own money. So we offer a service to match. We’ll set you up for a one-off fee and give you a discounted subscription to an appropriate cloud accounting platform. You’re then set to develop your product, but we’ll keep in touch each quarter, and when the time comes for you to need advice (whether it’s SEIS/EIS, R&D tax credits, fundraising) we’ll be there to do that on an agreed and costed basis. Not free, but no surprises!
Once you’ve reached that point, we’ll agree a time to move you to our core proposition, which is…
- Enterprise Core: OK, so the name’s not very imaginative, we’ll agree. But what you get is a powerful suite of services, accessible anytime, anywhere, supported by our partnership model. You’ll get all the tools you need, and only when you need them. Critically, you’ll get regular management accounts (how regular is up to you), and a detailed sit-down review with one of our qualified finance professionals. All of our professionals have worked as finance directors and management accountants previously, so we understand the needs of business and we are certainly more than just box tickers. Our work is carried out under the framework of the Global Management Accounting Principles (what what? we hear you say – well click HERE for more) so you know you’ll be getting an insightful and proactive service.
But there will come a stage where you will feel the need for a seasoned qualified professional to be ready to call on at any time, but you’re just not in a position to pay for a full time CFO. By now, you’ll probably be ready for our next service level:
- Enterprise CFO: It’s hard to say exactly when, and in which areas, you’ll need support, but there will definitely come a time when you need a professional finance presence to act as wingman, challenger and advocate. It may be by attendance at executive team meetings, or putting a detailed budget or plan in place, or advocating for you as you go through your next series of funding, or assisting in the financial tracking of a big project – the list is potentially endless, but we can help. With our ‘virtual CFO’ service, you’ll have all the benefits of a seasoned finance professional, but because it’s done on an agreed time and output basis, it’ll be at a fraction of the cost.
OK, I’m sold. So what’s next?
Book a free video consultation by clicking the big red button below. It’s as simple as that. We look forward to speaking to you!
About Aiteo Consulting
Aiteo Consulting provides accounting, finance and advisory services to start-ups and growth businesses in the technology sector. By focusing on lean accounting techniques, intelligent use of financial data and a lifetime of experience in financial roles supporting technology firms, we provide a premium service to enterprises and tech professionals, partnering with you to enable you to get the most out of your financial data.
If you, or someone you know, is looking for a virtual CFO service for your growing business, or if you’re a professional who needs your accounting and compliance sorted, take a look at our offering HERE. If you want to talk, you can book a free 40 minute video consultation HERE.
(C) 2016 Aiteo Consulting