A firm of Yorkshire accountants is throwing a half-a-million-pound lifeline to businesses struggling with the effects of the Coronavirus lockdown.
Ilkley and Leeds based Northern Accountants, which serves small and medium-sized companies all over the county and beyond, has already pledged £250,000 to help stabilise cash flows – and is on track to double this amount.
The unprecedented step by the team involves offering four new online tools to customers and waiving the cost of subscriptions, set-up and training. The platforms, all bolt-ons to the accounting software Xero, are:
· Stripe, which widens payment options for a company’s customers, reducing barriers that cause late or non-payment
· Receipt Bank, that helps businesses collate invoices and expenses quickly and efficiently, freeing up time for urgent or priority matters
· Chaser, which automatically follows up outstanding invoices
· Float, a tool to accurately forecast future cash position of a business.
Phil Ellerby, founder and chief executive officer of Northern Accountants, which also has bases in Doncaster and Hull, said: “We are committed to helping our clients through this time of uncertainty – and in many cases, reduced revenues.
“Our team has spent two weeks contacting the companies we work with to understand their requirements, and tailor the support that they need.
“Disruption to cash flow is one key issue that can cause serious problems, particularly when there is less money than usual in a firm’s systems. These tools combined can really improve this situation – and be the difference that keeps businesses on track.”
Software subscriptions alone usually cost about £75 + VAT per calendar month and Northern Accountants has committed to cover these until 30 June 2020, when the situation will be reviewed.
Set-up and training fees, usually £500 to £1,500 depending on the business, are also being waived.
Customers need to be using Xero to benefit from these bolt-ons and Northern Accountants has pledged to help companies to move from other accounting systems, at no cost, if necessary – a process that normally carries a fee of £1,500 to £2,000.
Phil said: “We are passionate about this software and the difference it can make for business and we had planned to spread the word over the next few months.
“However, this difficult time has spurred us on to offer customers all the assistance we can, to get them up and running with this cloud technology.”
Katie Mallinson, managing director of Scriba PR in Huddersfield, a long-running client of Northern Accountants said: “We’re delighted to see our numbers professionals helping out businesses like ours in this way.
“While many are tightening their belts, Northern Accountants is really living the ‘we’re in this together’ mindset and going all out to assist company owners and management.”
Ryan Hall, Director for Q Deck Systems Ltd – and England and Great Britain Rugby League player – added: “The speed of Northern Accountants’ reaction to Coronavirus assured us we can get through this together.
“Many companies are struggling to get any support from their accountants, while what we have received so far - including the extra tools and support from the team – is phenomenal.”
Phil continued: “Xero and its bolt-ons are pivotal components of the NA AppStack, which we believe should be at the heart of any business accounting function.
“With cloud technology relatively new to the business community as a whole, we are ideally placed to lead the way in the adoption of these vital tools.”
Representatives of Northern Accountants have been contacting clients to discuss their requirements.