Green up your business and make use of cloud accounting

Leave the car at home; reduce energy use and use virtual portals.

If the last 15 months have taught us anything, it has demonstrated how the traditional business model can change how it operates. Many of those changes could have a significant impact on the environment and make your business greener.

Professor Brian Cox, in his current series, highlighted that the earth’s resources are finite, which you can’t really argue about. In the last couple of hundred years, we’ve been using these resources at an accelerated rate, and whilst nobody really knows when they will run out, they inevitably will!

He went on to say that whilst we can slow that process, in due course, we’d need to go into space for resources, where there could be unlimited supplies, providing we can access them. In the meantime, there are small things we can all do to make a difference.

Leave the car at home

Many of us have been working from home, reducing significantly the car journeys we make. I know my car fuel bill last year was a fraction of what it used to be, and it has made me think that I should be considering other forms of transport or at least reduce consumption, going forward.

We can also reduce travel by holding virtual meetings. Zoom, Skype and Teams have been a revelation.

Green procurement

Try to make sure when procuring supplies that they are as green as possible. Questions to ask are: Are they from recycled products? Can they be recycled? Are they from sustainable sources? Are they biodegradable?

You could look into switching to green cleaning products and consider using rechargeable batteries.

Reduce energy use

We recently had a smart meter installed at home. Initially, I thought it would make no difference, but I soon realised that it did have an effect. Seeing how much your energy is costing does focus your mind, and the challenge of keeping the cost to a minimum is quite engaging.

Now, lights are switched off when we’re not in the room, and monitors etc are turned off when not in use. We have also switched to LED lights. Whilst the saving to ourselves might not be great, if we all did this, there is going to be a significant saving.

Virtual portals

During lockdown and working from home, many have realised that the significant printing and paper/ink usage wasn’t necessary. At Larking Gowen, we’ve found ways around this.

Clients send us information digitally and we use a portal system to deliver accounts etc., which are delivered and signed digitally. This not only saves many trees but also time, reducing turnaround time to minutes rather than days in the post.

Cloud accounting

This is one thing that all businesses can do. There are many digital accounting products available, such as Xero and QuickBooks. When I started in accountancy (I shan’t say when that was), everything was kept in ledgers and on bits of paper, and mainly handwritten, but there were some accounting machines the size of a desk!

Nowadays, with cloud accounting, we don’t need to have boxes of paper, it can all be managed electronically. We don’t even need computer servers, we can access our accounting data 24/7 from anywhere, using a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

I’m sure you can think of many other ideas for making your business greener. Don’t be afraid to shout about it and share your ideas; your customers and clients will appreciate dealing with an environmentally aware business.

If you have any queries, you can contact me on 01473 833411 or [email protected].

Peter is the Guild’s accountant. This article is designed for the information of readers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, information contained in this article may not be comprehensive and recipients should not act upon it without seeking professional advice. “Larking Gowen” is the trading name of Larking Gowen LLP, which is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales (LLP number OC419486). Where we use the word partner it refers to a member of Larking Gowen LLP. © Larking Gowen.