COLUMN: Looking back on the launch of C.A.T.S.

Keith Phillips, of Duncan & Toplis.
Keith Phillips, of Duncan & Toplis.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of an important step in Duncan & Toplis’ history, writes Keith Phillips, director at the business.

Back in 1999, we made a bold move with the launch of our first IT sister company as we helped businesses in our area prepare for a digital future. This year, another major digital transformation has taken place and, once again, we’re here to help.

It seems like a simpler time, but long before YouTube launched and mesmerised the world with thousands of videos of cats, Duncan & Toplis started its own company specialising in IT. As if we’d known that felines would come to dominate the internet over the next decade, we decided to call this new company C.A.T.S. which was short for ‘Computerised Accounting - The Solution’.

Accountants were among the first companies to embrace IT in day to day work, so our very first brush with computer technology came in the early 1970s. Quite quickly, all parts of our business switched to digital technology so when we launched C.A.T.S, we knew exactly what we were doing. Largely, the C.A.T.S. team helped companies across the region set up their first IT systems and make the most of the many opportunities that the digital world was beginning to offer. The world wide web in its infancy and accountancy and bookkeeping was one of the most compelling reasons for many businesses to switch to digital technology. Armed with Windows 98, we could help companies create budgets, expenditure reports and profit and loss accounts using spreadsheets, saving companies endless hours.

Looking back, this all sounds very quaint, but at the time it was a revolution in the way companies work. Fast forward to 2019 and while many things have changed, our commitment to helping our clients make the most of the latest innovations is just as strong.

This year, we’ve been helping our clients adjust to another major technological change in the form of Making Tax Digital. Just as we’d done through C.A.T.S., the Duncan & Toplis Group has helped thousands of businesses get to grips with this important change. Although our C.A.T.S. brand is now a thing of the past, our IT company, DATCOM is its spiritual successor, helping more than 150 companies across the region with IT support, solutions and services.