Does my start up need a back-office?
Some businesses can go up to 18 months without thinking about the back-office at all — until demands start to arrive from HMRC or, if you're unlucky, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) want to audit your data protection controls. It happens.
Ironically, start-ups are probably in the best position to implement back-office control. Trying to do it once things get more established can be challenging, time-consuming and disruptive. Having to implement an accounting system to prepare a business for HMRC’s MTD initiative while at the same time ensuring that operational systems (e.g. those that create invoices or manage stock) can easily transmit their data to the cloud is not a fun job.
Why cloud-based platforms?
A cloud-based accounting system (e.g. Xero or Sage Business Cloud) supported by an automated invoicing app (e.g. AutoEntry) is a great idea from day one. They're low cost solutions that give you the freedom to forget about receipts once you've photographed them. (If you've ever had to track expenses, you'll know the pain of storing and tracking multiple receipts over long periods of time.)
We recommend that start-ups look for an accounting solution that caters for most eventualities of its future business - which solution will depend on the type of business, there is no 'one size fits all'!
Choose carefully with your IT
IT systems, such as a cloud-based storage location (e.g. Azure or AWS) with user access controls, are also worth thinking about. That's because GDPR states businesses need to know where their sensitive personal data is and how it's accessed. These platforms have a broad range of other functions, too. Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive are easy to set up, but come with high fixed prices when teams get bigger.