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Our 2016 Meet the Experts series kicked off with Finance on 9th March in our new home in the Digital Greenhouse. The theme of the day was that Guernsey provides both personal service to new entrepreneurs while also embracing the latest technology to empower business owners to be more in control than ever before.
The expert speakers included banks (Barclays and NatWest), accountants (De Garis Accounting and BDO), finance house Close Finance and corporate service provider Go-Corporate.
The empowerment of tech was emphasised by both Diane de Garis from De Garis Accounting and Richard Jackson from BDO who emphasised how much Cloud accounting services such as Xero have empowered and transformed the way they worked with small businesses. Watch a short video here to learn more about Xero.
Startups no longer need a full service accountant as these new software products have their own dashboard, direct feed from bank accounts, and a range of add-on services. An external accountant can then access all the financial information required to prepare annual accounts, and more importantly, can increase the level of service as appropriate for the stage of maturity of the company, and, with all the financial information to hand, provide valuable advice for business planning.
Banks, too, were emphasising their experience in working with businesses, with local, direct access to staff. Diane de Garis pointed out how important it is for small startups to set up segregated bank accounts for their business dealings and NatWest and Barclays felt they had improved their account opening services.
Steve Gibson from Barclays explained that they will shortly be announcing their new, Guernsey-based Small Business Advisor who emphasised his keenness to support new businesses, with hand holding advice available.
James Ingrouille from Natwest explained that they offer special services for startup businesses, such as one year’s free business banking, and Barclays said they also offer this service by negotiation.
Both Steve from Barclays and James from NatWest emphasised how they are embracing tech, with online access and upgraded software, while Steve noted they are bringing in voice recognition software to speed up telephone queries.
James McRoch from Close Finance explained that while they are not a bank, startups should not forget to look at asset financing as options for financing, and that they have recently enabled a startup to get off the ground using their unique approach to finance.
Finally, Charlotte Grisley from Go-Corporate put it all into perspective explaining how they can provide a modular, one-stop shop for a range of additional services startups will require, from company registration, to on-going company secretarial support ensuring companies are on top of all of their statutory requirements. They are happy to speak to entrepreneurs for no fee to explain which services might be of use, and to provide fixed prices for these services providing clarity on expenses.
Startup Guernsey is grateful to the above companies for joining us today.