ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

21st Century Accounting Toolkit

Curve describe how business owners can use the latest technology to simplify a range of accounting processes.

Smart phone with Curve notification

This is a guest post by Curve.

As soon as April 2019, the nature of small business spending and expensing in the UK will change as bookkeeping moves to the cloud and tax goes digital. To keep up with the changing demands, the 21st Century Business Owner is adapting; they know their money better, keep closer control of what goes in and what goes out, and they’re making the most of the latest apps and tools to help them. So producing accounts is less about piles of receipts, spreadsheets, and panic, and more of a button click away.

Curve caught up with leading accountants to hear how they’re getting ahead of the game.

Bookkeeping

As tax becomes digital, accounting is becoming a more collaborative process. Both parties - small business owner and accountant - are given equal access to the same set of books in real time, so there are no surprises when VAT returns crop up.

Here are the top tools to get you started.

Xero

As a pioneer of online accounting, Xero has seen huge adoption by practices and SMBs alike; it’s practically famous. Nearly every service listed here can feed into the platform, offering the promise of accurate, real-time bookkeeping.

You can think of Xero like the processor behind your business, quickly and efficiently tying together all the data we used to have to manually trawl through, freeing up business and practice to focus on the things that really matter.

How do I get it? Set up your first Xero organisation at xero.com.

FreeAgent

For freelancers, sole traders, contractors, and micro-business, the accountants we’ve spoken to recommend FreeAgent. It helps you get similar tasks done that you could otherwise do in Xero, but there’s a focus on stripped down ease-of-use over more complex functionality.

If you’re just starting out, the FreeAgent site also has a library of online guides and accountant directories to help new businesses find their bearings.

How do I get it? Head over to freeagent.com.

Wave

For the cost-conscious bootstrapper, Wave offers a pay-as-you-go suite of accounting solutions for small business, including invoicing, payroll, and recurring payments. The package itself is free to use with clear transaction fees and add-ons as you scale.

How do I get it? Create an account free at waveapps.com.

Spending and expensing

The process of expensing - collecting receipts, sending off expense claims, and getting the data needed to keep accurate books - can be messy for accountants and small businesses. Here’s how to keep on top of it all.

Expensify

Expensify adds some clever features for small businesses and large corporates alike, particularly when it comes to travel. The app uses GPS to track mileage, for example, and can link directly to a client’s Uber account. At Valentia Partners, 'we’ve rolled Expensify out across the firm,' says Andrew, 'and it’s great!'

How do I get it? Download the app on iOS and Android at expensify.com.

Curve

By focusing on the card itself, Curve has reinvented the expensing workflow.

Clients combine all their debit and credit accounts into one Curve card, and one even smarter app - simplifying spending across all cards into a single spend timeline. Plus, you can instantly sync transactions from Curve to your Xero organisation (complete with receipts). It’s a bookkeeper in your wallet.

Alan Woods, Woods Squared: 'We’ve been using Curve. It’s a smart card that lets you to choose which card to use when you pay for things. You can reallocate the expense later if you get it wrong. The app prompts the user to upload a copy of the receipt too and then it syncs over to Xero.'

How do I get it? Go to imaginecurve.com.

So there you have it, a comprehensive digital toolkit for faster, leaner, and more productive work for the 21st Century Business Owner.

August 2018