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What does 2014 hold for SMBs?

Intuit’s top predictions for the year ahead…

1.    SMBs will use their accountants to get ahead

Intuit’s Changing Role of Accountancy study has revealed that nearly two thirds (65%) of small business owners expect their accountants to operate as strategic business advisors. Now, more than ever, we expect ‘value-add’ services from our accountant. In 2014, we will see this evolution in action, as the economy moves towards recovery. Following the Autumn Statement, small businesses will be getting a helping hand from the government with capped and discounted business rates. Accountants will have a vital role in advising on how to make the most of the new support.

2.    Big Data will be big news

The debate around Big Data has dominated debate in the tech and business community in 2013. Next year, we will see the benefits of Big Data make a real impact on SMBs, offering up new channels for business growth and improving efficiency. Information that was once the preserve of corporate giants will become increasingly accessible to SMBs, creating new ways for them to operate more efficiently, find new customers and drive economic growth. In short, data will now be democratic, a resource as valuable as capital or labour. 

3.    Making money with Mobile

The mobile point of sale (MPOS) market will continue to evolve in 2014, leading to even greater flexibility and efficiency for business users. This will benefit SMBs and sole-ownership businesses in particular as mobile payment technology will become integral to the wider ecosystem of software and services that they use, for example it will be able to communicate with accounting software and banks to keep the books up to date every time a sale is made.

4.    Get organised in real-time

The new system of Real Time Information (RTI) will make a big impact on payroll and business management in 2014. New regulations mean payment information needs to be sent to HMRC in real time, as the paycheck is issued. Those companies with 10 or more employees and any new businesses will have to adopt this new system in April 2014. SMBs working with the new system will reap the benefits in organisation that RTI will provide.

5.    It will be cloud first

Something that will affect businesses of all sizes is the fundamental shift in behaviour towards the cloud that is set to become the norm in 2014. This year mobile technology surpassed desktop for the first time, and paved the way for a 2014 dominated by business on the move. The accounting software so vital to small business owners is rapidly adapting to service this demand, products like the new QuickBooks Online are accessible from multiple devices and can be updated by the business owner and the accountant at any time.

6.    Collaboration is king: make the most of open source

As a result of the full-scale adoption of the cloud by businesses in 2014, it follows that the expectation from business owners will be that they have access to anytime communication with the experts that help them run their business. Cloud based accounting platforms will mean SMBs and accountants can work collaboratively on the books, saving on time and consultancy fees. A huge development for SMBs will be the ability to access multiple programmes on one platform that cloud technology allows, thereby effectively having more information at their fingertips. There will also be an increase in business technology becoming integrated with far more API ready (open sourced) software, allowing app designers to make tailored products that align with business programmes, which services all of the business owner’s needs in one product.

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