September 05, 2017
With accounting being one of the most competitive businesses out there, what kind of technologies have you incorporated this year to stay ahead of the herd? It's easy to get stuck in a rut if you've used the same processes for years. Especially bad is keeping up with paper-based systems to do all your accounting.
Due to regulations being more complicated than ever, you don't dare stick with doing everything on paper. It pays to look at the latest accounting trends, including many going beyond technology.
You'll find interesting changes in technology for sure, but also client service changes, what Millennials think of accounting, and even automated software options.
What Technology Changes Are We Seeing?
One of the most significant has certainly been the cloud in the last few years. It only gets better with ability to store unlimited data and accessing it on any mobile device. The cloud allows you to share financial data with staff and clients without even having to meet in person, giving you more freedom in your schedule.
Another development we're seeing evolve this year is workflow management systems in better managing staffing concerns. Many of these are starting to offer comprehensive project tracking for more time efficiency.
Along with more attention to cyber security for client protection, artificial intelligence is finally reaching a peak. As Xero points out, the next wave is more advanced machine learning for added intelligence in figuring and calculating. Plus, machine learning helps you look to the future to avoid making bad business decisions.
Changes in Client Services
A major trend in providing client services is optimizing for positive client experiences. You can do this through technology, relationships, and providing innovative solutions to complex problems.
Many of the younger generation now expect digital portals for easy communication with their CPA's. It pays to create a portal on your website where clients can easily access their financial information at any time and on any mobile device.
Provide an easy place for them to contact you through the portal so you can answer their questions in minutes rather than days.
The Rise of Millennial Clients
Expect many new Millennial clients through this year and into the coming year. As many of them become tax-paying adults, they'll turn to you for their accounting needs. However, they'll expect the portals above, as well as more transparency through your accounting agency.
Don't expect to keep these younger clients if you stick with older management systems. Some of the key things they'll expect from you include more personalized strategy and guidance in their finances. Going paperless is another expectation, as well as timely responses to questions.
The latter is where the portal comes in handy above. Mobile communication is equally essential for Millennials where real-time replies from you are a must. Don't make them wait any more than an hour for an answer to their questions.
The Role of DIY Accounting Software
Automation is everywhere now, and that includes the accounting industry. While it can help eliminate a lot of manual tasks, what kind of role will Do-It-Yourself software bring to accounting?
Those of you in the field may feel like DIY software is a threat to your careers. It may force you into proving what kind of value you really bring to your clients if they can do a lot of general accounting tasks on their own with software.
Using the cloud already gives you automation, and it's beneficial to add expertise using popular accounting platforms. Bring this to the fore and you'll be able to use automation tools to complement your job rather than having it replace you.
Keep reading us at Lorman Education Services to learn more about the latest trends in accounting and what lies ahead.