Any new change can be quite intimidating, more than welcoming! And that’s applicable for technological developments in accounting too. The good thing about technology however is the ease and comfort it has brought about in general. And the role of technology in accounting is truly unparalleled.
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What is implied by the role of technology in accounting?
2020 has witnessed new frontiers in digitalization. After all, the pandemic has caused most industries to leverage technology to its maximum. As a result, both internal and external processes are far more streamlined than ever. At present, there are varied types of accounting systems. Most accounting firms have now diversified and incorporated modern technologies like automation, block chain, artificial intelligence and more. Almost, all the advancements in technology that have occurred in the accounting industry led to the development of a fear of ‘phobia’ among few employees; especially wondering if their skills would be considered obsolete after a point of time. But research shows that these fears are largely in the mind! Instead of threatening the profession called accounting, technology can facilitate better and sturdier relationships with clients. The latest ‘Digital or Die report by Xero’ shows that almost 34% of accounting firms that have made a switch to the latest technologies. This in turn, has boosted their revenue by a third, for every employee. India has made rapid progress, in terms of including technology in accounting. So it would always be a great idea to hire finance & accounts expert from India who can bring a sense of relief to clients worldwide.
Why is technology imperative in bolstering the connection between accounting firms and clients?
Below mentioned are few pertinent aspects that explain why and how technology can indeed consolidate the relationship between an accounting firm and client/s.
First, technology can offer valuable insights to widen one’s expertise. This means that technology itself aids in the process of making accountants ‘domain experts’ and also to fit into their very roles. Accountants can blend the insights via technology with the existing knowledge that they gained in all these years of experience, to offer better services to clients. ICR technology is projected to become the future of accounting. And that’s how accountants would gain hassle-free and quick insights, sans shifting through the data manually. This way, they would be much better-equipped to deliver value and quality results to clients.
Second, the study by Xero itself revealed that close to 72% of small business owners are heavily dependent on their personal accountants, even when technology has risen to an all-time high. Instead of allowing technology to decide about finances, the accountants can become ‘trusted advisors’ to clients if they adopt the policy of consultancy. Despite varied types of accounting systems existing in the current times, accountants need to be there for their clients. To retain faith, they must take all the effort to be updated about the fintech advancements. Besides being the ‘experts’ that they’re known for, the relationship with clients would also extend beyond numbers.
Third, communication is basic to any relationship. Even an accountant and a client are likely to function better if the right mix of personal and professional communication is present in almost all such interactions. From on-boarding a client to carrying out all such duties timely – there must be a human touch, and a proper flow of communication between the two parties. In addition to portfolio updates, it would be a welcome venture to extend personal messages like a welcome email for new clients, or wishing them on their special days (birthdays, anniversaries), or congratulatory emails for any special accomplishment. All these make clients feel valued. Sometimes, these interactions can pose difficult, considering the excess workload that accountants usually have. But thankfully, CRMs today can automate such communications, thereby maintaining a strong relationship with clients. Here too, technology comes to good use.
Fourth, effective time management is the key. It’s not unusual for clients to feel worked up within the 24 hours in a day! But, accountants must be able to plan every minute of their day well, so that no adverse impact is felt upon their work. In order to allocate adequate time for each of their client, they must map out schedules likewise. Failure to do so can result in serious damage to the relationship between the accountant and the client. Surprising as it may sound, technology can prove an ally to the accountant when they make their best effort to become productive. Now that a plethora of productivity apps lie at the disposal of accountants in different types of accounting systems, it should be no hassle to stay organized. Better client relationships are also guaranteed, owing to well-chalked out schedules.
Fifth, accountants are expected to be proactive and keep clients updated with all the work that they do for them. Less face-time with clients can often produce negative results, especially if clients tend to feel undervalued. These days, no client is merely satisfied with a monthly report. Real-time results are what they expect to see, and technology indeed has come to the rescue now. Nowadays, most accounting firms have developed mobile apps that help clients track investments, and how they’re managed. Even building a dashboard on the website can come handy.
Sixth and the most important one – there’s no substitute for transparency. Since accountants have access and control of the wealth portfolio of their clients, their responsibilities are immense. The slightest mistake may cause clients to become suspicious and eventually, severe all such ties. The best way to gain confidence from a client is to maintain transparency at all levels. Using an online tracker, clients can stay aware about all activities and actions that have occurred on their accounts.
What are the factors that have led to increased technology use?
Earlier, the use of technology meant that decisions would mostly be taken on the basis of factors like pricing, competitors, business management (technology was more of a strategic or overhead asset) or even the primary vendors (examples include CCH-Wolters Kluwer, Intuit, Thomson Reuters, and so on).
Now, technology decisions rely and even get influenced by changing factors, like client requirements, integration, innovation, industry talents, workflow management, team coordination and collaboration, mobile platform, Cloud, resources present globally, and definitely, cost.
At least one thing stands clear. The factors that currently drive technology decisions have been subjected to changes over time. Also, it clearly establishes the fact that technology is no longer a luxury or even an option anymore. It’s a basic necessity.
What can be expected for the future?
To understand the role of technology in accounting and harness the power of the same, it’s vital to figure out the future vision correctly. Here are few parameters that can help devise a “future-centric vision”, from the standpoint of technology:
- Elimination: Of processes having minimal value
- Integration: Data flow must be seamless through workflow
- Automation: Automated processes
- Accuracy: Usage of AI tools and automation for reducing errors
- Speed: This is based on historical or some other facts
- Consolidation: Serving the enterprise and eliminating redundant data
Depending upon the exact requirements, nowadays accountants can select one or several apps for their businesses. These are meant to make the process a smooth one. Also, these help accountants and the accounting firm to succeed. These tools for integration, knowledge, financial management, email marketing and the like, assists customers to detect what they need exactly and how their concerns can be addressed timely. This way, customer loyalty is retained too. If the customer service isn’t adept, it can truly make or break the relationship with clients. So it’s mandatory to hire finance & accounts expert from India who can offer accurate services.