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How Chartered Accountants can change the world

Chartered Accountants: a force driving forward innovative businesses

N/aNovember 2021

Times of crisis breed innovation. This has certainly been true for the wave of entrepreneurial businesses we have seen in response to the pandemic.

Since 2000, business births in the UK have been consistently high, with much of this activity located in London. Business creation in the UK has accelerated through the past 18 months with government support, low interest rates and the changes to our personal and working lives coming together to create an environment of incubation.

Chartered accountants are recognised as an essential resource for start-ups in an advisory capacity, but perhaps lesser known is the power of the ACA working within a small and growing businesses. As the founder, the first finance hire, or the CFO, chartered accountants can be a true force for innovative businesses.

Robert Collings is the Head of Finance at Flux an award-winning scale up that is bringing bricks and mortar shopping into the digital present by supporting businesses and their customers to effectively utilise receipt data.

Collings explains, “having a chartered accountant in a start-up can be a significant factor for whether the start-up survives. They can provide strategic value by understanding things like optimising unit economics to unlock a healthy ability to scale, or working out how to finance the company in the best way possible. They also bring operational excellence with an understanding of what makes good processes and how to fix things if they go wrong, whilst ensuring the processes are not onerous enough to slow the start-up down.”

“Start-ups and scaleups are laser focused on creating new sources of value which may never have been seen before. To do this, they’ll usually take investment which brings more money into the UK economy for use on hiring, R&D and other value creating activities. Once they’ve found product market fit, their ability to grow fast and scale up means they can aid rapid recovery in the UK economy.”

One example of a business that has been laser focused on providing a service that has not been needed before is Tally Market. Co-founded by ACA Laura Beales, the platform is changing the way workspace is provided by allowing companies to offer their employees the right type of workspace as and when they need it.

Beales commented, “the pandemic has changed the way we live, and the way we work is central to that. The thesis behind starting up Tally is to provide a source of revenue for venues that have struggled, especially in the hospitality sector, as well as a cost-effective working environment.”

“People have realised that the reason we go into the office is to meet up and collaborate. We are supporting all sorts of spaces to diversify their income streams by servicing our new working patterns.”

When asked about being a chartered accountant and an entrepreneur, Beales stressed that “having the accountancy background makes a huge difference. The ACA gives you the fundamentals to build the rest of the business on.” Working within small and growing businesses, chartered accountants can promote successful business growth, help to support the economic recovery, and provide for a world that has now changed.

To support our members that are working in start-ups, scale ups and mature small businesses, ICAEW is launching a new Small & Micro Business Community. This is a platform that will bring together practical resources, ranging from access to finance, HR and technology, as well as providing access to a peer network of Chartered Accountants working in similar businesses. Join the Community at this link.

By Megan Fitzpatrick, ICAEW Business Engagement Executive

London Accountant

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