Five Ways New Technology Helps Accounting Firms Work Smarter, Faster, Better, and Cheaper – Easily Doing More for Clients
As technology continues to advance, nearly every industry and segment has found new ways to do business in better ways, serve their customers more powerfully, and create space for individual firms to significantly distinguish themselves from their competitors.
Nowhere has this been more clearly the case than in the field of accounting.
More specifically, new technology – including faster computers, more powerful software, and closer system interconnections – has changed the accounting industry in at least five important ways.
Advanced technology, the kind that is readily available from Technology Solutions MSP, has made it simpler and faster to do things like gather, organize, measure, analyze, and calculate key financial data. The result for accountants and accounting firms has been to make their work smarter, faster, better, and cheaper. This has created opportunities to make servicing clients both easier and more efficient.
Five of the Most Important Technology Advances in Accounting
At the cutting edge of computing, Technology Solutions MSP has direct experience in developing and implementing systems that take advantage of the five most important technological advances for accounting. They are:
- SPECIALIZED ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS
Gone are the days of green eyeshades, heavy ledger books, and cumbersome calculating machines. They have now been upstaged by highly efficient, incredibly fast, and amazingly capable information processing technologies that include small, fast, and cheap computers powered by complex and sophisticated accounting software systems.
With modern software systems managing the bulk of the accounting work – from original input to final output – accounting firms need no longer worry about the kind of problems for their clients or themselves that used to keep practitioners awake at night. The dangers of non-compliance with tax laws, or of procedural errors that can damage an accounting firm’s reputation, are now nightmares relegated to the past.
In addition, advanced accounting software has converted a once-staid and even boring profession into a far more dynamic and fast-paced opportunity for success.
- CLOUD-BASED COMPUTING
As computers came on the scene, the biggest downside was the need to purchase or lease, then support and maintain large, heavy computing machinery. But the march of progress soon changed all that.
Expensive, dedicated computer rooms eventually gave way to cumbersome desktops, which in turn were replaced by lightweight laptops. These, in turn, have now given way to relatively small, featherweight devices that link nearly instantaneously through the internet to massive information processing resources imaginatively called “the cloud.”
The advent of “cloud computing”
The advent of “cloud computing” has given accounting professionals remarkable new opportunities to streamline, update, and improve the quality of all their work, all their processes, and all their functions.
Because the cloud is available 24/7/365, accounting professionals can now access information and do important work from their own offices, from their clients’ offices, from airports and automobiles, from restaurants and lunch counters, even from park benches – whenever and wherever makes the most sense or feels most convenient.
From a technology standpoint, having processing power based in the cloud means that the necessary efforts to develop, install, update, and maintain accounting software – and all relevant client data – can now go faster, easier, and cheaper than before.
Because software and data reside in a single “virtual” location, there’s no danger of mixing up software versions, of failing to update outlying installations or remote offices, or of inadvertently leaving technological incompatibilities in place that will cause problems for accounting practitioners as they strive to serve clients.
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- MORE EFFICIENT SERVICE TO CLIENTS
As modern computing technology improves, simplifies, speeds, and enhances the work of accounting professionals, it automatically allows them to markedly improve their services to each and every client.
For example, accounting firms can now gather the key data their clients need far faster than ever before, and can perform intricate calculations on that data in the blink of an eye.
Forget punching keys for hours on end. New scanning technology allows rapid conversion of printouts and other written material into digital form. Afterwards, sophisticated software can parse the data and use it to fill the relevant fields in databases and spreadsheets automatically.
Once data is digitized in this way, the chances of mathematical errors, imprecisely formulated calculations, or human errors in logical thinking practically disappear.
What’s more, a client’s data can now be gathered more directly from wherever in the organization it is originally generated. Once the system has completed its high-speed aggregation and appropriate processing, it can more quickly, more easily distribute the results to wherever it may be needed.
In addition, the ability of modern accounting software to display information in a variety of formats and visuals means that non-accountant clients can more easily understand and appreciate not only the raw and finalized data presented to them, but the value-added work done by their accounting professionals.
Clients quickly learn to rely on accounting professionals who make use of today’s advanced technologies to be more readily available, better prepared to answer questions and respond to crises, and more completely capable of providing the widest range of services a client may desire.
- ADVANCED MOBILITY
One of the most profound advances in modern technology is the advent of lightweight yet powerful mobile devices. We call them tablets and smartphones, but their capabilities go well beyond these seemingly-simple names.
Although there are many reasons for accountants to travel to and spend time at clients’ sites, presentations of data and findings is no longer one of them.
Technology that allows for data sharing and video/audio conferencing now allows accounting professionals and their clients to “meet” virtually, to share data in real time, and to discuss any aspect of their work across long distances as easily as if they were in the same room.
Both the accounting professionals and their clients can now have the capability of presenting, editing, and discussing a client’s data in ways that everyone else on the highly-secure electronic hook-up can experience in real time.
In addition, mobile devices are now capable of recognizing expenses, digitizing receipts, aggregating data, generating and receiving messages, submitting and receiving invoices, and much more.
The smartphone in your pocket now has vastly more computing power than the largest “big iron” computers of yesteryear. It allows anyone to have a broad range of “home office” capabilities anywhere they happen to be.
This mobility allows accounting professionals to remain in much closer contact with their clients, easily providing faster and more responsive services, and thereby improving the importance, breadth, and value of their business relationships.
- MORE DIVERSE ROLES FOR THE ACCOUNTANT
In the old days, accountants were swamped with the need to gather, compile and calculate results from a wide range of client data. Today, much of that work can be fully automated.
As a result, accounting professionals can now utilize their time taking on new, more interesting, strategically more important, and higher-value work for their clients.
For example, accountants with access to advanced hardware and software can perform complex analyses on a client’s data, pinpointing areas of strengths and weaknesses, and identifying areas that may require more managerial attention or fine tuning to improve overall organizational performance.
Accounting professionals can also provide sophisticated financial and tax planning advice that can enable clients to lower operating costs, increase margins, and improve bottom line results.
New technology also makes it possible for accounting professionals to go far beyond traditional “eyeshade” activities and offer clients consulting services that can result in better connections with customers and suppliers, improved access to lucrative markets, and deeper understanding of how specific organizational adjustments will impact the company’s short- and long-term operating results.
How Tech Can Help Accountants
As indicated, there is a world of new technology available to accounting professionals. The problem is that accountants are generally too busy doing their work – and may also be temperamentally unsuited – to stay current with today’s rapid-fire technological advances and to see how each of the new technologies can best be applied to the field of accounting.
That’s why Technology Solutions MSP is the perfect partner for accountants and accounting firms that want to take advantage of technological opportunities without risking the downsides and disappoints that can occur when you pioneer professional changes using complex technological elements.
Technology Solutions MSP understands both the world of accounting and the world of technology, and specializes in finding the best ways to bring them together for the immediate and long-term benefit of their customers.
Whether an organization includes a thousand professionals or a lone practitioner, Technology Solutions MSP is adept at finding the right combination of hardware, software, training, and support that allows an accounting firm to move to the forefront of the industry without falling victim to the “bleeding edge” syndrome in which too much technology can cause more problems than it solves.