Runagood 9 Mar 2018 10:46am

Robots to the rescue

SPONSORED FEATURE: Runagood explains how AI diversifies an accountancy practice

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Caption: An accountant may no longer be the first choice for a business owner wanting guidance

Is the combined onslaught of reducing audit requirements, the rise of low-cost, online, DIY systems and the inclination of most start-ups to be self-sufficient and tech savvy, unstoppable? The bigger firms have developed bargain deals for very small companies in the hope of spotting and getting alongside the winners of the future.

An accountant may no longer be the first choice for a new business owner looking for guidance. They might open a bank account offering entrepreneur services instead, joining a start-up hub that provides links to sources of free or low cost advice. But these can consist of generalised blandishments delivered at “hallelujah” sessions and the offer of a mentor or coach to provide guidance about a business they barely understand. Still, the thinking goes, it’s better than going it alone, costs little or nothing and they get to meet other entrepreneurs for mutual support.

What they could get from an accountant far surpasses all that

So why don’t they know about it, or look for it? After all, a community accounting practice is wired into what’s happening locally, can visit client premises, see the business, get to know its team and make informed relationships and productive introductions. It should be the first port of call for any business seeking advice. But under 30% of small businesses do so.

Why has it gone so wrong for accountants who used to dominate the professional business services market? Runagood® thinks the three big barriers are:

  • Accountants are naturally cautious about offering anything they may feel unable to deliver on, such as providing advice and solutions for:

                  – Urgent issues including marketing; people; systems and technology; customer service; logistics; production; business valuation; crisis management.
                  – Longer-term issues such as exit; recovery; growth; lifestyle; effectiveness; diversification; risk management

  • A preference for recommendations and introductions to new clients, rather than proactive marketing.
  •  Business owners increasingly thinking that accountants can only provide them with expensive compliance and tax services.

So, can all that be reversed?

Yes, says Runagood®, inventor of the first AI business adviser. Founder Duncan Collins says: “You only need to look at recent government research* to see how small businesses seek advice and what about, with accountants showing up as being the most trusted type of business adviser. Yet, they take only 28% of the £2,500 that is the median average that smallest business spends annually on business advice.”

He asserts that the door is wide open to grasp a new market that is worth at least £7bn annually, ie £1m per UK accountancy practice. But what of those three big barriers holding them back?

Consider this: if there were such a thing as an AI business consultant that any accountancy practice could add to its team, it would eliminate employment costs, never complain, not take holidays, work 24/7 every day of the year, never be sick or late, and come with all the knowledge and skills needed to offer the entire range of business advice. Such a miracle would clear the first big barrier immediately and quickly overwhelm the other two with irrefutable evidence that “this practice is in business for every business”.

Runagood® claims that it has done exactly that, having spent over £1m developing a unique online platform. It enables any practice to become a fully-rounded business mentor, coach, trainer, consultant or project manager, within seven days of making the commitment.

So confident is Runagood® of its remarkable boast that it is offering disbelievers a live product demo and Runagood® Business Centre Partnership free trial at runagood.com/partners