Rob Young, Chief Financial Officer at Love Your Accountants Ltd (LYA), talks to us about his experience of working in a small practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rob has adapted to change, embraced different technologies, and focused on how to do things differently to capitalise on new opportunities.
LYA currently has multiple trainee accountants, with one of them being an ACA trainee, who is studying the Level 7 Accountancy Professional apprenticeship. The team are planning on expanding and recruiting another apprentice on the ICAEW ACA scheme later this year.
Embracing technological changes
Since joining LYA in September 2020, Rob has streamlined much of the business and moved away from time-consuming, manual processes. He estimates that the company now saves around 20 hours a month of admin time due to the automated processes which have been implemented.
For example, he incorporated a cloud practice management software, Accountancy Manager, to reduce the time it took to bring new clients on board and make the process as efficient as possible. The system also allows visibility to keep track of employees’ tasks and what needs to be completed for each client. For a holistic view, Rob has added payroll, VAT and other services being provided to clients and employees are able to just update their own task list, rather than updating Rob on each individual task.
The team also uses Xero for invoices and they have signed their clients up to a direct debit scheme, so payment is received automatically.
For bookkeeping, LYA has set up specific email domain addresses for each client, where they can send their receipts directly. This helps to reduce time chasing clients, as receipts can be forward to Autoentry to process everything quickly.
Processing bank payments was often a laborious task which would not only sometimes take a long time, but would cost a lot to clients for same day transactions and LYA has used modern banks such as Revolut and Telleroo to speed up the payment process and also reduce fees for their clients.
Overall, the processes around LYA have been built to reduce the amount of time spent on administrative tasks for both employees and clients, ultimately saving clients money and time.
Training and support
Since becoming an authorised training employer in 2014, LYA has supported students throughout their training. Before enrolling onto the ACA training programme, their current trainee spent a year at LYA understanding how to process accounts, giving him a good grounding before starting his studies. This involved starting with the basics of learning bookkeeping on Xero, processing of payroll, personal and corporation tax and talking to clients to build his confidence and experience.
Rob and the team are very supportive of their trainees, encouraging them to reach out to discuss any issues or anything they want to learn more about.
LYA has also put together internal training for the different FRS standards to provide trainees with additional knowledge. Rob draws on his own experiences to create the training process. Trainees are encouraged to understand how accounts work before learning how to do them. While Rob appreciates this takes more time, he says the results are much better.
LYA has adapted its support for training by using video calls while working from home. Trainees can speak with senior members of the team to go through more complex projects, such as EMI returns or R&D tax credits. Rob and the team revisit these with trainees to ensure they fully understand everything.
For Rob, ensuring his trainees fully understand and are using their own initiative is important. Rob spends time quizzing his trainees during reviews to make sure the fundamentals are fully understood, rather than following what was done in a previous year.
The answer is ACA
Learn more about ACA training and register your interest to speak to our dedicated team.
Interested in offering ACA training?
Register your interest and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss your needs.Register your interest