online accountantsBack in 2013, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) conducted a poll to see how many accountants and business owners were turning to cloud-based accountancy software and online accountants. It was found that nearly a third of the poll’s participants were already using digital accounting software with a further third looking to use similar software within two years (this research was conducted during a webinar hosted by ICAEW).

That means by 2015, nearly two-thirds of all accountancy was being recorded through cloud-based accountancy software (if the poll was accurate). Based on the assumption that this trend has carried on at the same rate of growth, we can now safely say that 100% of all accountancy is being recorded through digital accountancy software.

Obviously, that isn’t the case. While it would be nice for everyone to use efficient and reliable online accounting services (not including Making Tax Digital, which is as efficient as a chocolate saucepan), we definitely haven’t reached the point where an online accountant is the best option for every business, yet.

Why Online Accountants Are Hugely Popular

What has caused this huge rise in popularity for online accountancy software? It obviously has its benefits and every business needs someone to manage their accounts, but why online accountants?

  • They’re Cheaper

Let’s get the obvious out of the way; chartered accountants certainly know what they’re doing, no one is going to deny that, however they can be extremely expensive. This is no problem for huge multi-million profit corporations (in fact we would actually recommend it for them), for smaller businesses, however, a large paycheck to a chartered accountant can be a huge dent into your budget.

More and more Sole Traders and Small Businesses are now turning to online accounting simply because it’s much more affordable. Most (if not all) online accountancy agencies will charge a monthly fee based around your business needs, so rather than getting hit by a large one-off fee every time you need someone to look at your account you will instead receive a cheaper monthly subscription that is easily manageable.

  • 24-Hour Service

Chartered accountants will require you to book an appointment before you get to speak with them. You might find the occasional generous accountant who will take appointments on weekends or into the evening, but they’re few and far between.

Online accounting however is available all day, every day. Since you’re using digital accountancy software, you’re able to access your accounts whenever and wherever you like. If you’re struggling with something, you can always call up your accountancy provider and ask for help, or if it’s outside of office hours you can leave a support ticket and your online accountant will get back to as soon as they can.

  • Less Paperwork

Sick and tired of having to hold on to years and years worth of receipts, invoices, tax returns etc. just in case you ever need them again? Or maybe you instead have a duty to care for the environment and would like to use less paper in general?

Online accounting is 100% paper free. This isn’t just an environmental benefit, but also a cost-effective way to reduce clutter in your office. Everything you use and will ever need is saved to the cloud, allowing you to access it at any time through your accountancy app. If you do prefer the paper version, or you just want a few specific invoices or receipts printed, the option is still available to you through digital accounting software.

  • Accountancy Tailored To You

Your business is unique, online accountants understand that just as well as chartered accountants. The main difference is that a chartered accountant will likely have a flat-rate fee regardless of what services your business actually needs.

Online accountants prefer to take a different approach. Rather than giving every business the same rate for their services, they will instead tailor a cost and package around your business and your business needs. This is the best way for you to receive a cost effective package for your accounting needs without having to pay for additional services that you don’t really need.

But Are Online Accountants Better Than Chartered Accountants?

Strictly speaking, there is no ‘better‘, you can’t be so black and white when it comes to such a vast and necessary service. What you should be asking is ‘Which one is better for my business?

We would recommend an online accountant, especially if you’re running a small business or you’re a Sole Trader. You’ll get a much better price for the services that you actually need, and it won’t break the bank. You will also have the opportunity to work on your accounts whenever you like, which is great if you’re the sole employee in your business.

For more information call 0800 0460 560