“Businesses are going to have to seriously consider how they can operate with increased agility and value-add. CEOs will turn to the finance department first for support with this, so accounting systems need to be able to support this business need.”
In the last year, Aqilla accounted for over £2 trillion pounds worth of business (+30% YOY), seeing a 17% growth in users and a 14% increase on overall usage of the Cloud accounting software, as organisations begin their return to normal operations. Adding weight to this, Founder and CEO, Hugh Scantlebury, explains that, “with travel and social events back on the table, finance departments will be spending an awful lot more of their time tallying up employee expenses”.
As a result, it becomes clear that when evaluating whether your finance and accounting system is serving your company effectively, it’s important to remember that changing business behaviour may lead to more time spent on processes such as calculating and monitoring expenses.
Similarly, being faced with challenging sales, inflationary squeezed profit margins, and even struggling to keep afloat during the pandemic, many organisations are relying more and more on financial reporting tools. With a growing need for reporting to be powerful and adaptable, there has been an increase in complexity of customer reporting and project needs and, as a result, an increase in adoption of Aqilla’s ‘Smart AI’ tools.
It becomes apparent that ensuring your financial analytics are adaptable enough to produce insights pre, during and post-COVID, will be vital for sustaining your organisation’s competitiveness, as well as navigating your business through the next few years post-pandemic. If creating reports and insights is neither simple nor based on real-time financial data, then you may need to reevaluate whether your system is as technologically capable as it should be to meet your organisation’s needs. Of course, this advice can bring concern to CFOs and Financial Directors as it may come across as proposing another expensive upgrade.
However, as with Aqilla’s demand-led, pay-as-you-go subscription based charge, you may actually save money by getting rid of expensive overheads and unnecessary maintenance fees, while still reaping the benefits of powerful ‘true-Cloud’ reporting, which legacy systems who aren’t designed-for-Cloud cannot offer. For example, our not-for-profit services team have managed to save customers over £100k in implementation costs, as well as benefiting from discounted subscription fees.
Ultimately, it’s important to prepare by doing your research: compare the features that Cloud accounting software providers have to offer, if something which your organisation requires is missing, look elsewhere!
Of course, whilst it’s essential to prepare your finance and business operations for the changing post-COVID business world, it’s just as important to prepare yourself and your employees. Hybrid working, and navigating new working styles, is incredibly important in preparing your organisation for the next few years. With COVID completely transforming the way we work, and working from home becoming essential as opposed to just a perk, transitioning to hybrid working can be challenging – especially for the finance department and organisations accounting worldwide. In the last 12 months, the Aqilla platform has served 17 million pages in 22 different countries globally! According to Sales Operations and Business Development Manager, Simon Bull, “every organisation needs finance software, and so having a Cloud-based accounting and finance solution will mean that finance departments can work fully from home, if necessary, while being able to support increased agility with the latest company data.”
With 50% of our top ten clients being internationally based, it becomes clear that the need for true-Cloud software, offering the ability to access your accounting from anywhere in the world and on any browser, has become a necessity when preparing your finance and accounting processes for the post-pandemic business environment.
In addition, according to the Chartered Institute of Management (CIM), Hybrid Working should be “best practice” as it allows employees to more easily structure their work around their life, rather than the opposite. It’s about giving flexibility to employees and enabling organisations access to a wider talent pool of people, for example, young mothers or parents who may not wish to return to work in an office, full-time. This year we’ve noted that our users have been split equally across genders and we hope that new working environments post-COVID will continue to encourage more mothers into higher positions in the workforce, especially in the STEM industries!
Finally, continuing with the importance of people in the post-COVID workplace, with so many events and training moving online, access to industry insights and learning opportunities have never been more prevalent or accessible! According to Founder and CEO of Aqilla, Hugh Scantlebury, organisations should be capitalising on this “so that employees can focus on their development”. Not only will this make employees more educated about their specific job role or industry but it will also make them feel more valued as part of the company. If you’re looking for free resources to learn more about business, tech and ‘true-cloud’ finances, you can check out our content here.
Analysing Aqilla’s ‘big numbers’ and insights from the last year, has made it clear that behaviour in general but especially in the world of business, is once again changing, as organisations navigate into a post-pandemic world. From business and finance processes, to employees, the world of work has entered a ‘new normal’, one where it’s never been more important to evaluate your finance and accounting system and whether it effectively fulfils your needs.