As accounting and finance sectors continue to move forward, it’s important to keep abreast of the latest developments in technology and industry practices.
1. Head in the clouds
It’s no secret that people want their data and information available on their mobile devices, and it’s time that businesses accepted this revolution. While some accountants may see this move to mobile as a break from tradition, the obvious benefits of improved efficiency, the ability to easily apply updates, reduced operating costs, and a better user-experience in terms of mobility and access to data, make it a win-win situation for businesses. One defining facet of cloud-based accounting is the flexibility to integrate a wide-number of add-ons, allowing the service provided to clients to be tailored to their individual needs. Low upkeep costs and increased competition in the cloud-based accounting software field mean that prices have already started to drop, and it is inevitable that ‘on-premise’ software providers will one day cease implementing updates, meaning everything will eventually move to the cloud.
2. Go with automative flow
The onerous nature of many accounting tasks is also being addressed by new workflow automation technology. Accounting software is now focusing on workflow systems as a method to vastly improve efficiency by reducing the need for manual data entry, therefore saving a great amount of time. For example, modern software is able to convert a photograph of a receipt into raw data, enter that data into the books, and assign to the correct account. Rather than replacing accountants, this actually frees-up time for bookkeeping and accounting teams to focus on more pressing accounting issues, which is particularly significant to small business owners and entrepreneurs. By simplifying key processes, workflow automation software is to the benefit of businesses and customers alike.
3. The consultative accountant
The trends that will change the lay of the accounting land are not only restricted to developments in software. There are changes in the customer-facing aspect of accountancy work as accountants move away from being mechanical bean-counters to become trusted advisors. Access to real-time data means that accountants are increasingly able to provide bespoke financial recommendations that can help a customer lower their tax bill and help with more accurate projections for their business. These changes include how billings are transacted, with ‘price per hour’ being ditched in favour of set pricing. This change in culture will allow an accountant greater flexibility with their time and gives pricing certainty to the customer. The administration of these services will also enable for more accurate tracking of client submissions and better planning of ongoing work.
4. DIY accounting
As accounting and bookkeeping software becomes more widespread and cost-effective, there are also more credible platforms for online learning. This can help sole-traders and small businesses to reduce costs by conducting internal accounting operations, submitting tax returns, and filing self-assessments themselves. On the face of it, this spells trouble for accountancy firms. However, as we’ve seen, the brave new world of accounting and finance actually allows for greater opportunities for accountants and bookkeepers. The ability to automate low-value undertakings allows firms to focus on dispensing customised, real-time advice to their clients. Rather than being a threat, DIY accounting might be chance for accounting firms to concentrate on how to provide a better, more comprehensive service to clients.
If you want to keep up with the changing world in accounting and finance, take a look at the London School of Business and Finance for a progressive way to earn your ACCA qualification online.
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