When you first hear their name, you’d be forgiven for thinking you could find SAS Accountants parachuting from chinooks and engaging in war with any small- to medium-sized business that still use Excel to calculate P&L…
In actual fact, I found them in a tucked away in an office north of Watford.
Sterling Accounting Solutions (SAS) has been partnered with Unleashed since the beginning of 2020, and in that short space of time they’ve introduced some great businesses to Unleashed.
Chloe Scott is the Virtual Finance Team Manager at SAS, and she gave me the lowdown on how she runs her Virtual Finance Team, including how they work with various software providers to put the best solutions in front of their clients.
Hey Chloe, thanks for inviting me into your lovely office – what a brilliant space! To kick off, how did you find yourself at SAS?
“I began my journey in the world of accounting back when I was 18 years old, so almost 6 years ago! I started off in a corporate firm, where I worked for a year and a bit. I then joined SAS back in 2017 and have been here ever since. It has been so exciting witnessing the fast growth of the company and team over the last 4 years.”
I bet it has! Tell me about the your ‘Virtual Finance Team’, how it came about and what services you provide to clients.
“The Virtual Finance Team – or commonly known as VFT – is a newly formed service that we offer out to our clients. We offer out a suite of services that allows the client to choose what is right for them.
“For many SMEs it doesn’t make economic sense to employ an internal accountant, and those that do often come across limitations with the skill set on offer. Although we are outsourced, VFT will become part of the client’s team. This often means that for less than the cost of one full-time employee, a business can benefit from a Finance Director, Management Accountant, Bookkeeper and Payroll Technician.”
Fantastic – so when you’re sat in front of a client, how do you determine their needs? And then how do you and the team find the right solutions?
“Mainly by listening to a client’s pain points and trying to find solutions to address them.
“When it comes to choosing the best apps for the client, all our clients are on Xero/QuickBooks and we first make sure they are using them to their full potential. We also offer Dext free of charge because every single client can benefit from that – and it makes our life easier too.
“We then take our advisory process on a case-by-case basis to make sure that each client is set up with the most efficient finance function, both from their perspective and ours.”
It would be great to hear about how you achieve this in practice. Can you provide a recent example of a client that you determined Unleashed to be a good fit for?
“There is one particular client that stands out in my memory. For a long time this client was using a super-old and over-complicated inventory management system; this system was not compatible with any accounting software and made month-end super difficult for both us and the client.
“We spent some time trying to convince them to change software, but I think with the help of the introduction of MTD (Make Tax Digital), they finally wanted to move away from their old software.
“We then took part in a couple of helpful demonstrations with the team at Unleashed, where they were super helpful and tailored the demo to meet the specific criteria and wants from my client. Within a few months the client completely scrapped their old software and were using Unleashed solely.”
What advice would you give to a fellow accountant/bookkeeper who is looking to become more digital in their approach to app advisory?
“Don’t try and do too much too quickly. We scaled very quickly in the early years by simply using a combination of Xero, Receipt Bank and AccountancyManager. It is only in more recent years that we have started to roll out other apps such as Unleashed, Chaser, Syft and Dext Precision.”
A massive thanks to Chloe and the team for inviting me into their office and running me through their Virtual Finance Team.
Unleashed has over 400 partners across the UK, EMEA and North America, and each has their own strategy behind providing a first-class advisory service to their customers.
If you would like to learn more about joining the Unleashed Partner Programme to bring a Cloud-first approach to your clients that manage supply chains, get in touch to schedule a chat.