Technology is reshaping the world of accounting, and while the field will always rely on the expertise and critical thinking that only a well-trained and savvy accountant can provide, knowing what tech is available and how to harness it is the edge that will catapult your firm past the competition and into a secure future.
Ready to get started? Here are the top five trends you should know about for 2020.
- Automation and artificial intelligence save time and money, and increase accuracy: Automation means that manual data entry is slowly becoming a thing of the past, and that saves you time, money, and concerns about accuracy, reports Purdue Global. Automation in accounts payable can save $16 per invoice, notes Vanguard Systems, and AP automation can pay for itself in less than a year.
- Cloud services make data storage and sharing easier and more cost effective: The cloud is not just for your personal photo collection, it’s also a major plus for small and mid-sized accountants and accounting firms who can use it to share and collaborate in real-time and much more effectively than if all data were housed on-site. AccountancyAge estimate that more than three-quarters of all small businesses will rely on cloud services for all of their operations this year. While Purdue Global suggests that large firms with massive amounts of data will find it cheaper to keep their computing on-site, the cloud is clearly the wave of the future.
- Blockchain will offer added security: Major hacking events continue to make headlines around the globe, and with security front and center on many customers’ minds, solutions that can put them at ease are worth their weight in gold. Blockchain, the record-keeping tech behind Bitcoin, is upending entire industries, says Deloitte, and is particularly useful in accounting, where it can be used to write transactions directly into a joint register, “creating an interlocking system of enduring accounting records … It is similar to the transaction being verified by a notary—only in an electronic way.”
- Social media can help with everything from advertising to talent recruitment: Social media, whether it be Instagram or LinkedIn, is a powerful and often cost-effective tool which any size of business can put to use. Even a modest budget can get your name and a small headline in front of thousands of potential customers on Facebook, and career sites like Indeed make searching for help a cinch—relatively speaking, of course.
- Outsourcing, especially for SMBs, brings in experts and reduces hassle: While large firms and those that are public will likely need to continue to do all of their work and store of all their data in-house, outsourcing key tasks to specialty firms is becoming increasingly popular for small and mid-sized firms. Offshore teams like OHI can offer cost-effective solutions with high expertise and robust infrastructure. Outsourcing, notes Basis 365, can include accounts payable and receivable, payroll, reporting, and transaction coding.
New tech and new solutions are offering smart, insightful, and cost- and time-saving fixes for accountants. The right mix can win you new clients and offer better performance for the ones you already have.