By Phil Ellerby

Let’s be honest, paper has had its heyday as the preferred way to store accounting information.

It’s old school and no-one in their right mind wants to spend their days filing, shuffling, stacking and shredding paper documentation.

Let’s be even more honest, we don’t really want to work with clients who use paper accounts.

Let me explain why…

  • It’s massively inefficient
  • Reconciling paper data is a nightmare
  • Sorting receipts is a waste of our time
  • Errors are difficult to find and resolve

If your business is still using paper accounts, you’re not just wasting your own valuable time – you’re also wasting your money.

Here’s why…

Almost every accountant in the world charges clients for their time. If we spend it sorting out your paper receipts and ledgers, we cannot offer you the expertise that could help your business to grow (and make more money).

That’s where our expertise lies. That’s the added value we can bring to your business. That’s what you should be paying us to do.

It’s time to view your accountant as a business advisor

The role of a truly exceptional accountant is not to prepare accounts. Their speciality lies in analysing the data they’re presented with and using it to advise about strategies that will save money, reduce tax bills and help to fuel sustainable growth.

Think of them as a strategic year-round financial adviser who can make critical business decisions based on forecast income or potential future losses.

Accountants, who are often removed from the day-to-day running of a business, can often bring new ideas to the table or give a fresh perspective based on the bigger picture.

In my opinion, that’s why 52 per cent of the FTSE 100 have a CEO or chairman with an accounting or finance background. Their knowledge and insight are invaluable.

By ditching your paper accounts and switching to digital, you could begin to benefit from this type of strategic advice – instead of paying for someone to sort through your receipts.

Modern accounting is changing… and so are we!

Accounting apps like Quickbooks and Xero mean that it’s now easier than ever to ‘do your own accounts’ and if you don’t currently use them, you should. They’re an excellent tool for any SME.

However, they’ll never be able to give growth advice, tax tips or business tips like an accountant can. We can also tell you the best time to implement changes – and explain why. An accounting app definitely can’t do that.

With the responsibilities of accountants continuing to change, we recognise that Northern Accountants needs to adapt and evolve too.

That’s why we’re only taking on new clients who have already adopted digital accounts or are willing to do so immediately.

We’re also encouraging all of our existing clients to ditch their paper accounts and make the switch.


We want our clients to use these apps so that our accountants can make more informed decisions that will improve your business – based on the analysis of accurate financial data.

If anyone’s unsure how to do this, we’re here to guide them through the process and ensure it’s done correctly. We’re also here to provide ongoing training and support should it be required.

Make no mistake, the introduction of Making Tax Digital for VAT this April means it will soon be essential to do your accounts on an app like Xero.

To comply with new rules set out by HMRC, you will need to use ‘functional compatible software’ which can:

  • Calculate the VAT due
  • Report the VAT figures to HMRC (as per the current VAT return)
  • Receive information back from HMRC

You don’t need an accountant to use a digital accounting app, but we believe it makes sense to have someone to guide you through the process. That’s why we offer unlimited support and a free Xero helpdesk to all our clients as part of our monthly fee.

If necessary, you can also engage us to carry out various administration tasks on your behalf – including:

  • Basic bookkeeping
  • Paying suppliers
  • Invoicing
  • Credit control

Doing this and switching to digital accounts could allow you to place more focus on your day-to-day business activities – and help us to make strategic decisions that will improve your profits.

Or you can keep wasting time and money, stick with your paper accounts and worry about the new Making Tax Digital rules at the last minute (when there’ll obviously be limited support available). I know which approach I’d prefer.

Ready to make the switch to digital?

To join the digital revolution and find out more about the apps which are available to improve your business, get in touch or call 0113 218 9552 today.