Outlook: Using data to weather the storm
By Jeff Gramlich, Managing Director & Head of Accounting
81% of small business owners are worried about how the cost of living crisis is affecting their business. That was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the result of a recent survey by UK business insurance specialist, Simply Business. The statistics are clearly concerning with 65% citing rising costs as their biggest challenge and 32% citing high inflation and interest rates.
In the States, the US Chamber of Commerce reports very similar signs of stress with the Small Business Index score dropping the most since the start of the pandemic and 7 in 10 businesses reviewed saying the worse is still to come.
These are very choppy waters and now is the time when the services that support these SMEs really need to step up. Auditors have a real opportunity to provide a lifeline.
At Validis we help leverage small business data. Detailed ledger and subledger transactional data is accessible in real time, providing a more strategic, timely audit. These automated, accurate data streams not only reduce the audit manpower costs but also enable the firm to provide meaningful value-add to their clients.
This level of data curation and standardization is already making a very real difference to accountancy firms and their small business clients, as we continue to process thousands of uploads. But we’re not resting on our laurels and 2023 is shaping up to be a year in which we will develop our product in two key ways:
🧩 Provide more connectors
We are significantly expanding our connectors, allowing firms to sync with their clients’ General Ledger packages. They will also be able to connect to Enterprise Resource Planning software packages to glean insights from day-to-day activities such as procurement, project management, risk management, compliance and supply chain operations. Exciting connectors for 2023 include Yardi, Epicor and NetSuite.
🗝️ Make data more flexible
Firms will not only perform more regular audits but can segment data for more timely and insightful use. For example, a business client may have a parent company in London but subsidiaries in four European countries. Instead of working through a process of data extraction for one operation after the other, our platform will allow them an enhanced, data selection and extraction process for the full group.
Similarly, data time parameters will be available to select. Afterall, an auditor may not want a year’s worth of data but may only need an interim period such as January thru June of a given year.
These are all important technology developments, as we strive to meet the needs of auditors at a time when they, in turn, are seeking to support their clients through some challenging times.