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The world of accounting is changing rapidly at the moment as cloud software starts to take hold and the vast selection of software houses build their App stacks in a battle for dominance and an ever-bigger share of the market. 

The change has been forced upon many businesses by the taxman. In a rare stroke of vision, HMRC decided to cater for the needs of the young entrepreneur at the expense of the less digitally able, who will over the next ten years look to retire. For many who have been in business for a long time, they have a system that works. This familiarity often means the processes run along smoothly. The phrase “if it’s not broken, why fix it” often comes to mind when discussing current systems. However, while familiarity brings comfort and security, the new digital era is not to be shunned. 

Not only is new cloud software quicker at processing most transactions, it offers a range of working styles to suit most needs and can be accessed on the go. While there is always a period of time where learning must take place, once up-to-speed, the confidence many feel to carry on the
momentum of enhancing their business systems is ever-growing.  

Attitudes to changes to a large extent depend on which generation we are from. What they all have in common is the fact that they all mock the previous generations for their “old fashioned” ways and technology. 

Everyone in business can now be divided into either ‘Digital Natives’ who have grown up exposed to a digital life and ‘Digital Immigrants’ who have had to move into that world, and those that feel they are being left behind as the Digital Dinosaurs of the current time.   

While the taxman must be applauded for their vision in moving towards the digital world, there must be criticism for the way they have forced it upon us, in a similar way to a monopoly or a dictatorship.  

They have overlooked the fact that as we move towards a more digitally enhanced world, it is ever more important that we retain individuality of ourselves and our businesses. This means that we have to cater to everyone as an individual and interact with them in a way that suits them. Anyone who has tried to phone the taxman will know the frustration of being on hold for a considerable amount of time and in-between the hold music (which should be in the charts because of the number of times it’s listened to each day) are messages stating ‘answers may be found online’. 

Often, the very reason for phoning and wanting to speak to a person is because the answer cannot be found online or the person calling does not know how to navigate the digital world. 

When assisting businesses with their introduction to cloud software, we have worked with all ranges of ability, age and attitude; from those that simply throw their hands up and want nothing to do with it, to those who grasp it with the shortest of introductions. The most important lesson we learnt while supporting our clients is that we need to go at their pace and in their style. Most still want a face to face meeting that graduates to a phone call as confidence builds until all they need is a message to point them in the right direction. Ultimately, a human is always at the other end. 

For those that wish to abdicate from the digital accounting world, help is on hand in the form of digital natives who will not only process it all but then explain it to you in plain English.

Part of our success is having a mix of generations that enables us to see the frustrations from all of our clients’ points of view. 

The more digital we become, the more human we must be. 

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