Wesley Rashid and Asima Hafesjit, co-founders, The Accountancy Cloud
The Accountancy Cloud
Chatham House Rules, whereby what’s spoken in a meeting or forum can be repeated, but sources of the information can’t be disclosed, can be a very irritating imposition for journalists trying to cover an event.
However, information discovered and researched as a result of such a forum are fair game. Last week was one such time when, in a city whose identity shall remain as anonymous as the attendees, several stakeholders were invited to a roundtable discussion to explore FinTech and blockchain; how the old can work with the new to improve cash flow for small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
Startups were high on the agenda, as they have been through most of 2019 as traditional banks finally realise this sector of the economy has been woefully overlooked.
Some surprising facts emerged, for example, one source cites a survey revealing 60% SMEs are not interested in growing into larger businesses and would go so far as turning down credit to avoid growth.
There are several reasons for this, not least the scandalous time it takes for SMEs to be paid by their (generally larger) clients. Why should any business wait at least three months to be paid for work already completed? This results in restricted growth and restrains the backbone of any country’s economy.
FinTech startups are addressing this anomaly, opening other ways for SMEs to operate and while challenger banks are good news for SMEs, another less widely-known aspect of FinTech is also bringing great benefits to the sector.
Some of these were on show recently at Xerocon in London, an international conference considered the Comicon of the accounting world. I know, it feels a bit of a stretch for anyone outside of the sector, but it’s a big deal; 4,000 people attended this year. Among the highlights were companies set to bring revolutionary changes to cloud accountancy.
Take The Accountancy Cloud, whose name clearly explains specifically what it does. The company is on a mission to transform the admin of SMEs by using the cloud to streamline accountancy, which can be a huge strain on the resources of an SME.
According to co-founder, Wesley Rashid, cloud accountancy represents an enormous opportunity because burdensome accounting and bookkeeping tasks done by hand can easily be automated and provide a more secure way of handling sensitive customer account information.
“We believe this gives us the chance to become the central gatekeeper for the entire company’s back office, from loans, credit cards, and even business insurance products. Our platform integrates automatically with the financial services customers already use. With a blend of custom software and accounting expertise, we can give entrepreneurs the freedom to focus on their business.” Rashid said.
Another interesting startup in the space is Prosperchain, which uses AI-powered credit control software to ‘see through the late payment behavior of an SMEs trading partners’.
It helps SMEs build transparent credit profiles on blockchain by connecting to their accounting software and bank accounts, enabling them to share credit scores and the most up-to-date financial data with key partners.
According to the company, it employs two million data points to chase late payments and also provide data about whether a supplier has a late, or on-time payment history.
FinTech may not hold the same attraction as superheroes, but it may be the accountants who clean up, as they use AI and blockchain to chase the bad guys.