The vast majority of accountants don’t have all the necessary tools to create cashflow forecasts easily and accurately. This was revealed in a live poll during a Modulr hosted event, featuring speakers from iwocaPay and Acumen Accountants and Advisors.
The digital event was hosted by Lea-Jane Baird, Product Manager at Modulr, who was joined by a panel of accounting experts:
- Ross Murray, Director at Acumen Accountants and Advisors
- Lara Gilman, Head of New Ventures and Co-Lead at iwocaPay
- Chris Brooks, Chief Financial Officer, Modulr
The experts discussed the rising criticality of cashflow and how technology can enable accountants to support their clients better.
Accountants lack confidence in their cashflow forecasting capabilities
We asked audience participants from accounting businesses whether they have the tools in place to create cashflow forecasts easily and accurately. Only 12% answered yes.
The experts said that keeping on top of cashflow is a headache for any business, and stressed that offering this service should be a top priority for accountants right now.
“If you’re running a business, you’re bound to have some understanding of cashflow already. But when you’re going through a crisis like COVID-19, things become a lot more unknown,” said Ross Murray, Director at Acumen Accountants and Advisors.
“Accountants need to be having cashflow conversations with their clients. But I’ve spoken to business leaders who haven’t heard from their accountant since the start of this crisis. That baffles me. Many accountants either aren’t grasping the severity of the situation or don’t have the capacity to help.”
“COVID-19 certainly reframes the urgency of the conversation,” agreed Lara Gilman, Head of New Ventures and Co-lead at iwocaPay. “It’s not only important how you forecast cashflow, but what do you do with those insights, what decisions do you make to manage it.”
“Businesses also need to think about the future – once they get through this, how will they become stronger and make better decisions? That’s where the cashflow conversation is going.”
Using technology to drive better cashflow management
The panellists all agreed that new technologies can play a critical role in helping accountants to pivot and provide better support to their clients during this crisis.
“Traditionally, people have used spreadsheets for cashflow planning, but there are now much more sophisticated methods,” said Ross Murray. “Today’s bookkeeping software is largely cloud-based and there are forecasting tools that integrate with it. This allows you to model different scenarios – best case, worst case and in between.
“iwocaPay is a way to offer flexible payment terms to customers without waiting to get paid or taking on credit risk. These types of solutions will be increasingly important in a post-COVID world,” added Lara Gilman. “And accountants can be a great conduit, because SMEs won’t always see the opportunities or true potential of new technologies and tools.”
The experts also agreed on the importance of harnessing real-time data to support their clients.
“The role of the accountant is increasingly critical, especially as we’re entering unchartered waters,” said Lara Gilman. “Businesses are looking for professionals they can trust to help them understand what’s happening. One of the most important things accountants can do right now is feed clients good information. We need to stay updated ourselves and play that advisory role.”
“This ties back to the availability of real-time data – there’s no longer an information lag between what’s happening in the world and the impact you see on your business.”
“Managing cashflow is an urgent priority right now, but accountants should also look at investing in new technologies to make their business more efficient,” said Ross Murray. “There are so many tools that can automate so many processes. It’s not about losing headcount, it’s about allowing your employees to do more meaningful work and adding value to your clients.”
Watch the full virtual event to learn more from the experts, including:
- How accountants can help their clients act on cashflow insights and stay afloat
- What kind of demands the experts are seeing from their own clients
- Which technologies can play a critical role in supporting cashflow
Special thanks to Ross Murray at Acumen Accountants and Advisors and Lara Gilman at iwocaPay.