It’s May the 4th, which in recent years has become known as Star Wars day across social media, with the hashtag #maythe4thbewithyou widely used. This seems like as good a reason as any to write a shamelessly Star Wars themed post around Cloud Accounting- which this author has been wanting to do ever since Tracey Watts, one of our Tax Partners wrote a Star Wars themed blog in the build up to the 2016 Budget (http://bit.ly/2q18NqPA)
We all know the basic premise of the Star Wars franchise, good versus evil, right versus wrong, imperial superpower versus plucky underdog. But how, I hear you ask, would the story have panned out if the various sides involved had used cloud accounting software to make better decisions.
1 “R2 says the chances of survival are 725… to one”
As Darth Vader and the ubiquitous stormtroopers are taking over the Rebel ship, Princess Leia desperately places her message to Obi-Wan-Kenobi inside R2D2 before she is taken prisoner by Imperial forces. While R2D2 consistently proves itself to be the most reliable, tough and arguably lucky droid in the galaxy he does, at this particular moment in the film, seem to be a worrying single point of failure. Princess Leia’s message, the plans for the Death Star and thus the whole fate of the Rebel Alliance are contained within R2D2 and R2D2 alone. Imagine that the escape pod carrying R2D2 and C3PO is destroyed, imagine Luke Skywalker picks another droid on Tatooine, game over for the Rebels. No more films, no heroic destruction of the Death Star, no Ewoks. Just a half an hour episode of “Why you should back up your files”.
If Princess Leia and the Rebels had been using online accounting software to manage their operation, they could have uploaded the key facts into the ‘cloud’ which is highly secure and allows access to those you award it too. R2D2 is no longer a single point of failure, the Rebel leadership has more time to plan their attack, countless lives are saved and maybe Darth Vader is so impressed by the ingenuity of the Rebels that he retires to a holiday home at the far end of the galaxy. If small businesses can back up all of their key data with online accounting, you’d think a civilisation that’s mastered intergalactic travel would be doing it too!
2 “Han my boy, you disappoint me, why haven’t you paid me?!
Han Solo, intergalactic smuggler, owner of the Millennium Falcon, handsome devil and debtor to Jabba the Hut. Understandably, Jabba get’s very upset when Han ‘misplaces’ some cargo on a smuggling mission and puts a lot of time and effort into trying to recover the debt. Laser battles ensue, property and equipment are destroyed and bounty hunters scour the Galaxy looking for Han. This whole debt recovery solution must be hugely expensive for Jabba and highly inconvenient for Han Solo, who ultimately ends up frozen in carbonite. Surely there is a better solution for everyone?
Yes! Online accounting platforms such as Xero and Quickbooks have invoice reminder functions that are proven to help small businesses get paid quicker and more often, improving cash flow, reducing debt recovery costs and minimising the need to have awkward conversations with your clients. If Jabba had been using online accounting, perhaps Han would have been reminded of his debt, and the whole nastiness that began in the Mos Eisley Cantina could have been avoided.
In all seriousness, according to the Federation of Small Businesses, approximately 85% of SMEs have been directly affected by the late payment or non-payment of invoices with around £35 billion pounds owed. This blog post on our dedicated cloud accounting website AG Connex discusses why cloud accounting is a good solution to the age old problem of getting paid on time.http://www.agconnex.co.uk/get-paid-quickly/
3 “That’s not a planet, it’s a Space Station!”
The Death Star was supposed to be the jewel in the Empire’s evil crown, but it was fundamentally flawed from the beginning. The exposed thermal exhaust shaft that Luke Skywalker and his merry gang of X-Wing pilots attack to trigger the explosion that destroys the Death Star is a fairly fundamental design flaw. We all make mistakes, it’s human nature, regardless of whether you are a small business or an evil galactic empire. It’s how you learn from your mistakes that counts. Obviously then, when The Empire came to build the Death Star Mk2 they made sure it was impenetrable to such attacks. Except that they didn’t and the Death Star Mk2 was blown up with a remarkably (if even more spectacular) attack.
Had they been using one of the business reporting apps available with online accounting (such as Futurli or Spotlight) then they would be better placed to learn from their mistakes. Thousands of small businesses across the country use these tools get more insight into what works well, (and not so well) for their business. When combined with accurate financial data fed in from cloud accounting platforms, these tools are a powerful weapon when deciding how and when to grow? Should you be selling more toy X-Wings or more toy Tie-Fighters?
4. “Mesa called Jar-Jar Binks. Mesa your humble servant.”
Jar-Jar Binks would be most peoples pick as the most irritating and useless character in the Star War’s films. He consistently gets in the way of Obi-Wan and fails to deliver on the light comedic relief that presumes he is included to deliver. Yet Jar-Jar is rewarded for his incompetence by being selected as a representative at the Galactic Senate, which promptly ceases to function as a democratic chamber and turns into the Galactic Empire, spelling doom and destruction for the Jedi and the Galaxy.
For small businesses it is important to work with experts who can truly help your business prosper and grow, hiring a Jar-Jar as an advisor would have a disproportionately damaging effect on a small business. Cloud Accounting platforms are fully transparent about which accountants and business advisors are good to work with and what particular expertise they have. Furthermore, the online based nature of the software means that you’ll always be on the same page as your advisor, minimising the chance of miscommunication and empowering you to make better decisions. If Queen Amidala had read client reviews about Jar-Jar Binks on an online directory, I’m fairly sure she would have thought twice about appointing him to the Galactic Senate.
5. “I grow tired of asking this so it will be the last time: *Where* is the Rebel base?”
Poor old Princess Leia is getting interrogated by Darth Vader and his cronies, they want to know which planet (in the galaxy they control!) is hiding the Rebel base. Things take a turn for the worse when Vader threatens to destroy the Princesse’s home planet of Alderaan, she cracks and names Dantooine as the planet which is harbouring the Rebel base (it’s a lie of course). The Empire destroy her home planet anyway and then go fruitlessly in search Dantooine where they find only the remains of a Rebel base. Meanwhile, the Rebels are on another planet altogether, the icy Hoth.
The Empire could have saved a lot of effort and Tie-fighter miles had they been using one of the simple inventory tracking systems that integrate with online accounting software ( http://bit.ly/cloudinventory). Considering a small business owner now has the power to effortlessly manage their inventory with online accounting, keeping a track of the planets within the galaxy you control seems like a pretty useful idea for an evil empire.
May the 4th be with you this Star Wars day! To learn more about our dedicated online accounting service please visit www.agconnex.co.uk www.agconnex.co.uk