- Integritax Accountants streamed live webinars and produced newsletters to explain government’s pandemic assistance
- Latest digital software used to provide instant financial analysis, as customers requested extra services to get through lockdown
- Aston Business School now using Xero in exercises on compulsory undergraduate accounting modules
A Birmingham firm of accountants with ambitions to become a leading tax specialist has doubled its revenues during COVID-19.
Integritax Accountants turned its attention to helping clients survive the financial crisis caused by the pandemic. It marketed its services online and used the latest cloud accounting software to provide businesses with instant financial analysis.
Adnan Khalid, founder and director of Integritax, was talking about his experiences in the latest podcast in a series called ‘Aston means business: SMEs building resilience to COVID-19 challenges’, presented by journalist Steve Dyson. Adnan said: “COVID has been challenging for many businesses, however we have stayed positive, and during the pandemic our business revenue has doubled.
“We had to think really hard about the services we offered during the lockdown. The usual conversations with clients would have been around tax planning and business growth. Now, clients were talking about business survival and ‘do we have enough cash in the bank to pay our staff?’”
Adnan, who has grown his client base to around 200 businesses across the UK, said: “We started to stream live webinars and produce newsletters explaining the government support in plain English, such as the furlough scheme and the business rates grant.
“We streamed our educational webinars on Facebook and other social media platforms which were really popular and we picked up a number of new clients. It was a great opportunity to showcase our services and show clients and prospects that we provide more than traditional accountants.
”Adnan said digital software such as Xero and QuickBooks enabled his company to provide a more instant and efficient service to clients.
He said: “We also worked with businesses to help them obtain finance, either through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme or the Business Interruption Loan Scheme. What we realised was that most of our growth actually came from our existing clients.
“Those that were restructuring their service offerings were wanting additional services such as management accounts so they could analyse their monthly business performance and cash-flow forecasts so they could keep on top of the cash in the bank and arrange overdrafts and loans if needed.”
Adnan said he was grateful for his time on the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth and said: “For me, this was invaluable. Following on from the programme we developed an online marketing strategy, really pinpointed our USP, and developed processes to help us become more proficient.”
Matt Davies, senior lecturer in the Accounting Department at Aston Business School, was also interviewed on the podcast. He said: “The advent of cloud accounting is very much revolutionising the way in which accountants are supporting small business in particular.”
He said it allowed business leaders “real-time access” to their latest figures, and enabled accountants like Adnan to help clients make “fast and appropriate” decisions during the COVID crisis.
Matt explained how cloud accounting was a crucial part of Aston’s undergraduate programmes, and that live challenges were set for students on the Virtual Business Simulator module, which next year will become the Accounting in Practice module.
He said: “We’ve integrated an exercise with a special educational version of Xero, one of the leading cloud accounting services, that requires students to experience using Xero by recording the transactions for a hypothetical business’s first two months of trading.”
Matt also pointed to the development of a free mobile digital game he led called Count FEFE (Financial Education for Future Entrepreneurs) which was available for wider businesses and entrepreneurs to increase their digital finance literacy. The game is available to download as an app from the App Store and Google Play.
- Listen to episode 2 of ‘Aston means business: SMEs building resilience to COVID-19 challenges’.
- Notes to Editors
About Aston University
Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive.
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