Understanding and implementing strategic accountancy practices can empower small businesses. Accountants provide a deeper understanding of investment strategies, financing alternatives, risk management, and insights into a business's financial health. This fosters trust among stakeholders and investor confidence. Long gone are the days when an accountant was the quiet employee in the corner, dilligently adding up the numbers. Today, successful accountants are dynamic, proactive professionals who actively contribute to leading business strategy. And with accountancy becoming more evolved than ever to meet the digital technology skills needed in a workplace, these professionals are more than ever expected to assist in developing comprehensive business plans that drive success.
Financially Informed Decision-Making Is Crucial for Business Success
Our approach to accountancy is that the role can now encompass so much more than the traditional definition: accountancy is evolving. Today’s most sought-after professionals demonstrate skill sets that show awareness and competency of issues that are wide-ranging and beyond the traditional scope of ‘book balancing:’ sustainability, artificial intelligence, digital transformation, and more. Meanwhile, understanding financial concepts and being able to interpret and present financial data to the board in a way that is relatable, well communicated, and articulated are critical skills that will help businesses make informed decisions about budgeting, forecasting, resource allocation, and more.
Keeping up with Legislation
It is also important for today’s finance professionals to keep abreast of changing tax laws and financial reporting standards, especially in markets where these laws are relatively nascent and evolving. Compliance with new regulations avoids the unwanted spectre of financial penalties and legal issues -- something that any SME naturally wants to avoid. That is why auditing is of paramount importance and something that at ACCA, we continue to champion. Auditing is essential to ensure businesses avoid potential legal issues and penalties. For a new business, quarterly audits are recommended, while seasoned companies can do an annual audit.
Optimising resources, identifying opportunities, and mitigating risks are some of the important aspects of a business that can be supported by accountancy. And these financial decisions can be backed by accounting tools. At ACCA, we advocate for integrating technology as it can streamline financial processes, improve accuracy, and provide real-time insights -- enabling entrepreneurs to efficiently manage finances and make data-driven decisions.
Support for Small Businesses
We have an SME toolkit and organise knowledge-sharing events to keep strategic partners informed about recent trends, one of which is the Professional Insights Series that explores the views of accountancy professionals in SMEs about sustainability. The series features a detailed practical guide to support SMEs throughout their sustainability journey, including the resources and tools they need to take action, with some examples of SMEs championing this field.
ACCA also offers short certifications that equip working professionals with the latest knowledge and skills in accountancy. These resources are invaluable for SMEs seeking to navigate the changes brought about by emerging trends.
Lastly, we are in talks to form strategic alliances with relevant bodies or organisations to support the entrepreneur ecosystem.
Strategic accountancy is not just about crunching numbers; it's about leveraging financial information. As small businesses in the UAE continue to navigate the dynamic business landscape, understanding and embracing the power of strategic accountancy will be key to the SME’s growth and prosperity. We, at ACCA, are committed to supporting SMEs in their entrepreneurial journey, providing them with the knowledge and resources they need to harness the full potential of strategic accountancy. After all, the future of business lies not just in innovation and creativity but also in sound financial management.
Budgeting Fundamentals for a Small Business
- Forecast to anticipate your financial needs and plan accordingly. Set clear financial goals.
- Conduct cost analysis to help you identify areas where expenses can be minimised and resources can be allocated effectively. Estimate revenues and expenses.
- Conduct regular reviews to ensure that the budget remains accurate and aligned with your business objectives. Monitor actual performance and make adjustments as needed.
Fazeela Gopalani is the Head of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in the Middle East.