This thousands of years old industry has never seen such a shake up as it has in the 21st century. While the job itself remains the same, the tools have changed causing transformative effects across the industry. Now Accountants and Bookkeepers are finding that their job has become more diverse, requiring new unique technological skills and knowledge that was never needed before. In fact, some accountants see that their skill set will need to shift again when future technologies, such as AI, begin to grow. Accounting and bookkeeping is no longer the pencil and paper, slow paced job it was before. Now it is a fast-paced industry driven by the pursuit of new and exciting technological solutions that continue to change it. Here are 9 technologies that have transformed accounting and bookkeeping.
Goodbye spread sheets, hello beautifully designed software that is as powerful as it is intuitive. Accounting and bookkeeping software, like Xero, is changing the way accountants do their jobs. It provides a user friendly, and powerful companion for day to day tasks freeing up time and streamlining processes. Now accountants can quickly input and compute data, freeing their time up to offer better strategy management for their clients.
Precision is important in accounting and this software has allowed accountants to be increasingly more accurate. This has become more important with complex new forms of currency emerging and a world where you can buy products across country borders with a click. Accountants can now rely on these types of software to calculate data involving cryptocurrency, credit cards, and more.
2. Cloud computing
No longer are all your eggs in one basket, or your data stored on one hard drive, now your data is safe in the cloud. Cloud usage has become increasingly common with more types of accounting software bundling it in by default. Xero utilises the cloud in its applications, meaning, all your data is available 24/7 from any location bringing many advantages. Data safety is one of the biggest advantages. Now your data is safe if your computer fails, or your hard drive is destroyed. Where before that would have been a problem, now you can just jump on a different computer, log in, and keep on going.
3. Mobile accounting
What does the culmination of good accounting software and cloud computing allow? Mobile accounting. The world has become increasingly more mobile. With strong 4G wireless coverage in most places, with 5G just around the corner, and powerful handheld devices, it is now easier than ever to go mobile. Accountants and bookkeepers now have the option too. Xero have released a mobile application and many more followed suit. Now accountants and bookkeepers can take the office with them wherever they go. This has enabled better connectivity between clients and accountants. Whenever an issue arises it can be almost immediately fixed. While not a fundamental transformation it does push the industry in a faster paced, increasingly mobile direction.
4. Artificial intelligence
Transforming accounting while improving accuracy and speed, artificial intelligence is the next big step. The leading form for AI is machine learning (ML). ML is where a machine utilises algorithms to predict outcomes from a set of data and then learns from successes and failures. This means that ML keeps evolving and becomes smarter the longer it is in operation. Fortunately, AI will not push all accountants out of work, at least not in the foreseeable future. Instead it will work hand in hand with accountants and bookkeepers performing tasks that are often repetitive, redundant and time consuming. Accountants will then be free to spend more time analysing and interpreting the data to provide recommendations for clients. All of this culminates in a changing role for accountants altering the entire industry.
5. Diverse roles for accountants
With so much more time freed up, accountants and bookkeepers have begun to diversify their role, reshaping the whole industry. No longer will accountants be tied down by time-consuming number crunching and can instead focus on using their professional knowledge in more strategic roles. Accountants are in the perfect position to utilise their knowledge and skills to provide high-level services for their clients. These include financial planning advice, business consultation, and other data analysis and interpretation type jobs. The entire profession is transformed from a backroom job into a high-level service that can have an even more powerful effect on their clients.
6. Efficient client transactions
With all these new technologies in play clients will be able to access real-time data whenever they like from wherever they like. It has become easier than ever for accountants and bookkeepers to keep their clients updated on their finances. Both parties will easily be able to edit, view and comment on their statements any time keeping everyone up to date. On top of this accounting software has become increasingly user friendly and consumer focused allowing non-professionals to easily understand the state of their finances.
Not only can your client see their data in real-time they can also contact you just as easily. Thanks to a range of new social media messaging applications and video calling apps, client interactions have transformed. Instead of requiring in person meetings, now accountants can liaise with clients at any convenient time across the world. This has allowed accountants to expand worldwide offering services to overseas clients.
8. Bigger data
With an increasing connected world with improved machine learning comes bigger data. Accountants will now have more data than ever at their finger tips to help clients improve their strategic decision making. New software will make it easier for businesses to analyse their customers habits and better predict staff productivity. Clients will now be approaching accountants and bookkeepers with a bigger list of unstructured machine-generated data for them to analyse and provide recommendations off. Fortunately, with a combination of improved applications and machine learning, accountants will have an easier time navigating this data helping them provide improved recommendations.
Blockchain has the potential to improve transparency across all accountancy-based data allowing accountants to stream line their processes and audits. Now with blockchain, assets, liabilities, transaction, and cash-flow can now be recorded in an immutable and transparent record. It has the potential to aid auditors and accountants in streamlining regulations and processes as it becomes increasingly more difficult to “cook the books”. Initially accountants feared that blockchain would take jobs, but now it has begun to be seen as a natural companion to an accountant who is still vital in the process.
Accountants and bookkeepers are now experiencing an increasingly faster paced industry which has required them to diversify their skill set further. Now with their workload streamlined by technology, accountants and bookkeepers have the opportunity to provide a higher-tier, more personalised level of services for their clients. These include consultation services, financial planning and more. The industry has never been more exciting. What other technologies do you think could transform accounting?
If you want to see what a 21st century accounting firm can do for you contact Link Strategies today!