Firms in the accounting industry deal with many client companies and people. When a new technology is introduced, it can result in some serious changes to the way accounting is approached and handled. The technology itself doesn’t have to be adopted by firms in the accounting industry, but many of the best and most effective firms are going to need to have an understanding of whatever technology is in favor if they want to stay competitive.
Take a look at four ways technologies are changing accounting.
1. Social Listening
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Accounting firms previously had no way of knowing what their client’s needs were unless someone told them. In 2015, all a firm in the accounting industry has to do is engage in social listening, according to Accounting Today.
This process happens when a company monitors its clients’ social media interactions, from blog posts and tweets to Facebook posts and LinkedIn articles. People and businesses tend to share information through social media, and companies engaging in social listening can potentially use that information to their advantage. This sharing could be indirect, sending a special offer email at an opportune time, or direct sharing, such as responding directly to the social media post. In either case, technology is driving the change.
2. Online Access to Technical Expertise
According to an article on accounting trends in Accounting Today, accounting firms are providing the type of specialized advice that is difficult to find online. In doing so, some of these firms are becoming middlemen for all types of services. Because of technology’s prevalence, and the wealth of unverified and non-specific information the media provides, people are looking to trusted accountants for advice about where to go for business planning services, personal finance investments, and even financial management services. This trend is forcing some accounting firms to develop à la carte options for their clients to support this budding demand for technical
3. Increase in Online Data/Info Being Analyzed
For some savvier accounting firms, technology is resulting in new revenue streams. “Even today, not all firms do accounting work,” claims Accounting Today. “For those that do, or are interested in expanding their service offerings, the idea of being the virtual back office or even CFO for a growing company is becoming quite attractive.” Many accounting firms are pushing into consulting, CFO-type services, information analysis, and controllerships, lending out their own accountants for the day or week. New accountants may need to be able to offer higher level services in order to compete.
4. Going Mobile and Using the Cloud
Technology is also changing the way accounting firms do business within the office as well, claims Forbes. More and more accounting firms are going mobile as a convenience to customers and a way to avoid the added cost of maintaining an office claims the Forbes article. These firms tend to offer cloud services for managing accounting data as well. This level of digitization in accounting industry operations means that invoicing is more streamlined and much quicker. It also means that accounting firms are able to gain easily processed and analyzed information about their clients, according to the “Journal of Accountancy.” This can help improve analysis both for an accounting firm’s clients and within the accounting firm itself.
Technologies are also helping to turn accounting firms into hubs for many clients. As more people turn towards DIY tax preparation options, accounting firms are taking on more of an advisory position.
They are acting as a trusted hub, adding new revenue streams, and improving office efficiency.