Having an accountant that understands the E-commerce environment will only increase the insight and advice you receive. They will be well placed to interpret changing trends in the industry, if they are working with a portfolio of E Commerce clients across various sectors. For example, are online orders suddenly falling because of lockdown lifting, or is this potentially to do with your user experience and price point?
One of the most significant advantages would have to be understanding the software. There are various E commerce platforms such as Shopify, Woocommerce along with a variety of payment providers such as sagepay, paypal and Klarna. All software providers will provide reports and present them very differently, so it’s important your business advisor can guide you to the exact report and know exactly what they need from you.
An extension from reporting, is that your accountant will look to link various software to your accounting provider such as Xero, through API integrations, to allow for full visibility and free-flowing information. Not only will this save time continuously providing information, it will also mean that your accountant and business advisor will have full visibility of real time information.
These integrations will enable you to scale at a fast pace without requiring an increase outlay in resource to deal with the volume of transactions. This may be A2X for example that will allow thousands of Amazon orders to be batched together in your accounting software. Not only will this save you substantial amounts of money in the long run, having knowledge of these integrations will enhance your workflows and enable ‘real time’ information for effective decision making.
The way forwards
Referrals are great if you know anyone in the industry with a similar business, but it’s also important to look online and undertake your own research. Looking for accountants who actively promote that they heavily support E commerce businesses and the specialist software that’s going to make your life easier would be the first positive sign.
A modern website that’s easy to use and presents information in an understandable way is another important sign. How can you promote being a digital savvy business always looking at the latest technology on the market, in a fast growing E Commerce environment, without a website that supports this message.
Enquiry experience and response time are also key indicators which I would monitor. Is this process professionally managed by booking in a free consultation call from their website of a member of the team reaching out swiftly, or are you waiting 3 days for them to reach your enquiry. My view is, if they can’t contact you swiftly when there is a potential to gain a new client, how are they operating when you are an existing client. Are they a small team with too many clients to support or are they just poorly organised. Initial response time is everything.
Ensure you’re fully prepared for your consultation call. You are going to have between 15-30 minutes to build a report to decide whether they are the right fit for your business. The more questions you have prepared about how they work, their processes and why they differ from others, you will certainly gain more from your call.
Lastly, I’d review the proposal to ensure the price reflects the level of support you are going to receive and that it is well presented. Is it invoiced on a monthly basis via direct debit? These are just some of the signs of modern accountants engaging with digital processes and adopting integrations behind the scenes.
Do you need an E-commerce specialist accountant?
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