06 June 2023

Accounting Technology – The Future Of Accountancy

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It’s no secret that technology is advancing faster than ever before. And as a result, practically every industry out there is feeling the pressure to keep up. If you’re working as an accountant or business advisor or are thinking about starting a career in this field, its important to know how the profession is changing and will look in the future in terms of technology.

In recent years, accounting technology has significantly transformed the way accountants operate, and this trend is not likely to slow down any time soon. In this blog, we will explore the impact of accounting technology in shaping the future of accountancy and how it can help you stay ahead of the curve.

 

What is accounting technology?

Technology, such as cloud-based software is a major game changer within the accounting and finance sectors. It is enabling many accountancy practices to pivot their offer from a more traditional compliance-led practice to one which includes advisory support based on real time insight.

By integrating new digital technologies like AI, automation, data analytics, and advanced accounting software, there’s huge scope to help accountants – from simply improving their working processes to achieving better results than ever before.

According to the WorkMarket’s 2020 In(Sight) report, 54% of executives agree they can save 240 hours a year through automation alone. As with many sectors, automation and software technology is helping companies to boost productivity and do “more with less.”  Whether its productivity or security, fully embracing accounting practice management software can help to transform your business.

So specifically, how is it changing the profession?

As an example, gone are the days when accounting meant filing reams of paperwork or adding columns of numbers to an Excel spreadsheet. Modern accounting practice software allows accountants to provide data driven insight and work effectively from wherever – and it enables collaboration – sharing this information in a timely manner with their team members or clients.

Technology is helping with a vast array of tasks both accounting related and more administrative. Just some of the ways that technology is helping accountancy firms and finance professionals include the following:-

  • Time-keeping
  • Security
  • Project management
  • Financial forecasting
  • CRM databases
  • Inbound lead management, like chatbots
  • Customer Services
  • File transfer and storage
  • Manging expenses
  • Invoicing and bookkeeping
  • Internal comms and marketing

In fact, its probably easier to name a business function not affected by technology.

Benefits Of Technology in Accounting

As mentioned above there really are several ways that accountants and advisors can benefit from technology both now and in the future. We’ve picked our favourites in the list below:-

Time-saving and efficiency

Accounting technology has made it possible for accountants to automate mundane tasks, including data entry, bank reconciliations, and invoice matching. Automation not only saves time but also minimises human error, giving room for more refined analysis. With cloud-based accounting software, it’s easier to access financial data from anywhere, anytime. This increase in efficiency and productivity results in huge cost savings.

Real-time data equals real-time advice

Automation can bring major benefits – but is just one part of a much bigger picture when it comes to tech and practice growth.

Arguably, it is the access to real-time data through cloud accounting that is the real game changer. Because data is more available than ever before, you can gain deep and actionable insights into your client’s or company’s business in just a few clicks.

Looking at live data instead of retrospective data means you can offer real-time, relevant advice to help clients and employees mitigate any potential risks and make the most of new opportunities as they arise, enabling strategic business advising.

Better decision making

Having access to real-time financial data is speeding up decision-making. Companies can quickly detect and investigate anomalies and trends, which can save time and reduce costly errors. By analysing this data, accountants can also make data-driven recommendations that will help improve business operations. Software such as Clearview provides a really powerful forecasting tool that can create accurate and integrated cashflows, profit & loss statements and balance sheets with a few clicks.  Clearview aims to make budgeting, cashflow forecasting and business planning simple and efficient. If these are tasks that you’re responsible for, then Clearview is a gift!

Enhancing cybersecurity

As more companies shift to digital operations, cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly important concern. Financial data, in particular, is a prime target for hackers and data theft efforts. Technological advancements have enabled the development of more sophisticated cybersecurity tools. Accountants who adopt these tools can help protect sensitive financial information through automated, real-time monitoring of their systems.

Sheer volume of data and processes through AI, Machine learning, and Blockchain technology

Accounting firms are increasingly leveraging artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain technology to improve their services overall. AI can analyse vast amounts of data, make predictions, and generate insights. Machine learning can improve efficiency and accuracy by automating processes, including reconciliation tasks. The adoption of blockchain technology can help increase transparency, security, and accuracy in financial systems, especially in auditing processes. When all three technologies are adopted together the sheer number of processes that can be improved is impressive.

Remote working arrangements

With remote working arrangements becoming more widespread, cloud-based accounting software has become an essential tool for accountants working remotely. Accounting technology has made it easier for firms to operate without physical access to their offices while allowing accountants to communicate and collaborate seamlessly which means you can recruit from a wider talent pool or serve clients across the globe!

Personalisation

The most successful accountants will already be looking at how technology allows them to pivot their services to offer a much more personalised service.  Accountants will be able to offer an even more advisory service as the data crunching elements will be undertaken by technology.  Clearview is a great example of a complementary technology helping business advisors and accountants to free up their time and offer a more personalised insightful service.

Planning for the impact of technology on the accounting profession

As accounting technology continues to advance rapidly, it is expected that the role of accountants and business advisors will continue to evolve also. Accountants will be expected to have a more in-depth understanding of technology and how it can be used in the accountancy profession.

If you want your practice or company to grow in the future, you need to include technology with your plans. Essentially you need to think of technology and your number one partner for growth. Whilst specialist client knowledge cannot be replaced by tech, it is important to lean into new software to boost the client or employee experience, otherwise you’re at risk of being replaced by an accountant who IS partnering with technology and using it beneficially.

Embracing technology does however mean embracing new ways of working, and employers may find there is a generational divide. Potentially some older employees may be more resistant to new technology.

Firms that embrace automation may also be able to beat you on price, and clients may be attracted to a quicker, slicker service. In addition to this, offering finance software as a value add or as an element of self-service that empowers the client can be very attractive.

By having an open mindset about innovation and a curiosity about how software can support you, you will be setting yourself on the right path towards practice growth.

In conclusion, accounting technology is transforming the field of accountancy rapidly. The future of the industry will depend heavily on the use of technology, with accountants and business advisors expected to leverage technology to provide highly personalised and analytical services that help their clients grow. By embracing the advantages of technology and adopting innovative solutions, accountants and business advisors can  stay ahead of the curve, providing invaluable advice and guidance that adds exceptional value to their clients’ businesses.

Accounting technology is continually evolving, and it’s essential for accountants and business advisors to embrace these changes and leverage the opportunities they bring. The benefits of accounting technology range from improved efficiency and productivity to more strategic business advising and being able to make data-driven recommendations. Cybersecurity has also become a crucial concern, and accountants must invest in sophisticated cybersecurity tools to secure financial information. Embracing accounting technology will enable accountants to build more efficient and productive workflows, increase profitability, increase competitive edge,  and provide the best support their clients and teams in the future.