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Getting your systems talking after an acquisition – our top tips

We’re always looking for the next step in our evolution at Day Accountants. Most of you will know that we’ve just acquired Coralmead Accountancy Services to create a two-centre practice that’s ideally situated within the East Anglia and North London area.

Bringing a second office on board is a great move for our future as a firm, but it's also highlighted some of the key challenges you face as a business when acquiring a competitor – and how much work is needed to get your systems, processes and people working together.

They say 'write about what you know' so we thought we'd share our experience following the merger, with our own practical advice on how to make things run like clockwork.

1. Get your systems to talk to each other

One fundamental difference between our accounting approach and Coralmead's was the choice of cloud accounting platform – and aligning your systems and software is a vital consideration  when you bring a new business into your organisation.

We're huge advocates of Xero and the Xero app ecosystem  – while Coralmead based most of their cloud accounting around Intuit's QuickBooks accounting platform. In our opinion, Xero has the edge here, and it's always our platform of choice, so we're in the process of moving our new clients over to Xero to create one big happy Xero family.

Top tip: Centralise your systems around one core software platform

2. Follow the same standard operating procedures

Many businesses grow organically over time , and the same is true of your internal processes and operational procedures. So the way you run your small business may be very different to how a competitor in the same sector goes about their day-to-day operations.

As accountants, there are standard regulatory frameworks that all chartered practitioners work to, but the ways in which Day Accountants and Coralmead managed their internal practice management were two very different beasts. So, we're in the process of standardising all those practice procedures and giving both offices a clear, standardised way of working.

Top tip: Standardise and systemise your internal procedures

3. Help your people to work together

Your people can be your company's biggest asset , and the people culture you create is likely to be a real differentiator for your customers. So you need your new teams to get along!
When we brought the Bishop Stortford office into the firm, we obviously had concerns around how both practice teams would work together. But, on the whole, it's been a positive and enlightening experience to merge these two groups of experienced finance professionals.

Things we've done to help  create the right culture include regular training for both teams, encouraging employees to work from both offices and collaborate their counterparts, and setting some very clear values around what Day Accountants is about as a firm.

Top tip: Get your teams working together and collaborating as quickly as possible

An accountant who understands your tech

If you're thinking about buying out a competitor, or merging with another business, we have the strategic know-how and technology experience to help you plan your merger effectively.

Careful planning, as ever, is a vital part of the merger process. And knowing what systems to use, and which key apps will add value, is an area where we're much more than just your bog-standard accountant and bookkeeper.

As a Xero Partner, and experts in a wide range of business apps and cloud solutions, we can work with you to get your systems talking, your processes aligned and your people working together like a finely tuned machine.

Talk to us about getting your systems and people talking