Accounting industry today needs staying in-step with the time, considering the pace with which new business opportunities are coming up. It is important to stay relevant in this competitive market and make the most of the Information Revolution. And this is especially important for the accounting sector as most the accounting firms offer specific nature of services.
Research by AICPA suggests that by the year 2025, the business environment for CPAs and accountants would be described by unprecedented, immense, and accelerated change. Clients want their accountants and CPAs to provide them with proactive and future-focused advice for their business. However, 92% of CPAs reported that they’re not ‘future ready.’
Is your firm ready to face the future? Let’s explore three key steps on the road to transformation.
1. Embrace Cloud Accounting
Cloud accounting allows accounting firms to act quickly and provide their clients with access to information to help them make real-time decisions. Moving your business operations to the cloud isn’t just about new services, but the rejuvenation of in-house processes which showcase your competence and the desire to innovate yourself.
It wasn’t long ago when there was a debate about security in the cloud, and SMBs were wondering if they should adopt cloud accounting. However, today, the question isn’t whether firms should adopt cloud or not. It is: What would happen now when technology is increasingly ‘new normal’?
Forbes report suggests that 59% of small businesses that use cloud technology for their business operations have experienced a significant increase in productivity. With the emergence of new applications, each improving on cloud’s promise, there would be a shift from some accounting tasks on the cloud to all of them.
Why? Because cloud accounting provides many benefits:
- It provides greater ease of use for accountants and CPAs.
- Cloud is one of the most secure ways to store your data and information.
- Along with getting real-time updates to the software, cloud accounting solutions also provides you real-time update to the data.
- Cloud accounting helps to keep a company’s finances organized and makes it easier to find invoices and update expenses.
- Easier collaboration in the cloud allows accountants and CPAs to maintain a good relationship with their clients and employees.
- Cloud accounting also allows businesses to integrate add-ons, which helps them customize their accounting solution and get access to everything– invoices, customer engagement, and sales in one place.
Most accounting firms are reluctant to embrace cloud technology because of the fear of making changes in their existing structure, a learning period, and additional costs. While such fears are valid, firms that fail to adopt cloud computing may find themselves at a long-term disadvantage.
Accountants and CPAs which empower themselves with these cloud benefits would be free to become a trusted advisor to their clients.
2. Become A Trusted Advisor to Your Clients
The three key levels of accounting services include performance, compliance, and strategy. While most accounting firms focus on compliance services, the demand for it is decreasing nowadays. Technology today can make such tasks more efficient and sometimes completely automated.
Most small business owners expect their accountant or CPAs to provide them not just usual bookkeeping or accounting services, but also business advice to help keep their firm financially healthy which would help them make the right decision.
According to a survey by Sleeter Group, SMBs expect financial strategic advice from their accountants. However, most accountants are still providing only tax services, bookkeeping, and audit services to their clients.
It’s important for accounting firms to set aside time to help their clients beyond usual accounting tasks. If your client values what you offer, then you may consider offering them as a trusted business advisor. Technology can provide accounting firms with stronger analytics capabilities. This provides them a deeper insight into the financials of their clients.
Below are some ways you can provide strategic advice to your clients:
- Select a few financial key performance indicators to begin with. This may vary depending on the industry. For instance, a retail shop owner may analyze cash on hand, profit margin, and profitable products.
- Check benchmarks and compare them with the KPI’s – this would help you find areas where they can do better.
- Provide regular visual reports to your clients through simple graphs and charts. Help them understand how they are doing vs. their forecast.
- With the help of SaaS tools, explain to your clients their actual financial health from anywhere and anytime.
3. Adopt Automated Workflow
By 2020, manual tasks such as audits, tax preparation, and payroll will be completely automated – a trend which is considered as the biggest transformation in the accounting industry.
Along with cloud services, automation would play a huge role in the accounting industry, especially when manual and tedious tasks consume a lot of accountant’s time. It reduces bookkeeping time almost by half as the accounting software automates about 90% of transactions. Automating accounting processes would help them get the work done quicker and more efficiently by simplifying manual tasks.
Accounting firms can easily automate their processes without any human intervention. Many accounting software products have allowed businesses to minimize their data entry processes. This would help them better manage their resources and efficient utilization of funds.
Automation would not only open up many opportunities for accounting firms but also allow them to stay more focused on their key business areas. Although automation may seem like a threat for accounting firms, it isn’t going to replace them in the coming years. So, if your firm hasn’t started using automation, it’s high time to switch.
Becoming a future-ready accounting firm isn’t unattainable. It is a skill that companies can learn. Considering that the clients and partners want firms to be future-ready, it would be one of the key skills accounting firms would need going forward.
So, let’s make a start today. For any queries about how we can help you to become a future-ready firm, call us: 855-ACE-IT-UP