For an SME or startup, maintaining manageable and organised accounts can be one of the biggest headaches, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

As COVID-19 restrictions forced most of us — and our work — further online, the need to embrace digital tools across all aspects of business became increasingly acute.

At Champion Accountants, we identified the trend toward a digital-led approach early and have been building upon our expertise in cloud accounting ever since.

Businesses of all sizes have faced difficulties since March this year — not least the SMEs and startups that the health of our economy relies on.

Early in the pandemic, the UK Government introduced financial support in the form of the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

The funding from these schemes was intended to support and save companies, and they were rightly welcomed by the business community at large. Understandably though, submitting an application for either scheme required certain forms and figures. Arguably, it was at this point for many a small business where the benefits of cloud-based accounting truly began to show themselves.

With software such as Xero — a platform the Champion Accountants team know inside out — all the numbers and supporting documents are there for our clients and us to access within a couple of clicks. We can view the information from anywhere, removing the need to be on site, which has also proven invaluable during the pandemic.

Throughout the summer, we’ve helped business owners submit successful BBLS applications that have resulted in funds arriving in accounts the following day. CBILS necessitate additional paperwork and data being sent to trusted lenders such as banks, yet we’ve seen many an approved application financed within a week.

If you’re used to cumbersome, large-scale providers of the past and all the complexities they bring, modern cloud solutions will come as a refreshing change.

With Xero, for example, information is up to the minute, literally. What you see whenever logging into your dashboard is a live, real-time reflection of your company’s financials.

Plus, if you do conduct some business using paper-based receipts, Xero integrates with Receipt Bank, a tool that allows users to scan and upload physical documents to their accounts easily. Once done, there’s no need to hold on to them, which removes filing and unnecessary headaches at the same time.

Having access to live activity on your account increases the confidence with which creditors approach such loan applications. Debtors, creditors, profit and loss, balance sheets — everything you could need to access is there. It’s all displayed in a clear format, allowing you to pull reports and edit their layout should you wish.

Having this live data to reflect upon allows users to look forward and plan their cashflows accordingly. When it’s easy to operate on a month-to-month basis, businesses who prepare financially for the start of loan and deferment payments will find themselves in much better stead when that time arrives.

Looking further ahead still, taking a cloud approach to your accounts will also futureproof your books, as whenever legislation changes, providers push out updates to ensure compliance with HMRC.

We’ve provided transfer of and rebuilding of data, integration and staff training, full account management — whatever the client needs. For some, we look after everything up to and including year-end accounts, meaning the client doesn’t even have to touch the software.

We have no hesitation in saying that cloud accounting is the way forward. COVID-19 has made SMEs well aware of the need to be able to work remotely — and regularly.

If you’d like to discuss the benefits of cloud accounting and understand how Champion’s digital accounting services can support your operations, then contact Brittany Jackson on or call 0161 703 2500.