What do you see when you visualize the future of earth? Is it flying cars? In-home android housekeepers? A scene straight out of The Jetsons? Whatever you think may or may not happen, it’s fun to imagine the possibilities!
Now, imagine the future of your accounting firm. What kind of new inventions do you think you’ll be using in the years to come? As things progress, what are some things your firm can do to keep up with the times?
There are a few things that have been identified as common characteristics of accounting firms of the future – those that are best positioned to have staying power and succeed over time. These three behaviors have been observed across accounting operations that are taking advantage of technological advances that will propel them into the future of business:
Intuit predicts that 80% of small businesses will be cloud-adapted by 2020. If you’re not quite sure what it means to perform cloud accounting, we’ll give you a quick rundown. Cloud accounting software refers to a program that is hosted on remote servers that receive data from accountants, perform computations, and then return the results.
Some of the advantages of cloud accounting include:
- Safe storage of financial data
- Multiple people having access to remote data at the same time
- Greater mobile capabilities
- No local software installation required
- Software maintained by the vendor, not your internal IT department
- Accuracy ensured by electronic imports of data
With capabilities like these, it isn’t a surprise that there is a divide growing between firms that use cloud-based computing software and those that don’t.
Automation & Integration
The next key to adapting to the future of the accounting technology is workflow automation software. Perhaps you’ve heard of Robotic Process Automation. With RPA tools, repetitive tasks can oftentimes be automated and performed by software robots. This can include data entry, task routing, threshold-based approvals, document filing, and more.
With a workflow automation platform, your organization can complete the same work, but faster and with less effort. This increased productivity also creates the capacity for future growth, without needing to add more staff.
What’s more, your workflow automation system can be integrated with your cloud-based accounting software. This means you won’t have to jump from one system to another. All of your programs will be in communication with one another and updating in real time.
A finalist in this year’s Firm of the Year contest, AIS touts the importance of embracing digital marketing as a way to get new leads. While it may seem like a separate issue from cloud accounting and task automation, digital marketing actually goes hand-in-hand with these other developing technologies. The common theme, of course, is embracing tools that can make normal business functions quicker and easier.
With digital marketing efforts, email campaigns can be automated, web traffic can be increased through SEO efforts and other strategies, and potential customers can access reviews online through social media or review sites. More and more, consumers are looking to the web to find new products and services. Digital marketing techniques support this kind of self-educated shopping, and will continue to help new clients find your accounting firm.
Whatever the future may bring to our homes and daily lives, one thing is certain: business technology is in a constant state of change. We’ve got to work hard to keep up with new technology, or we’ll get left behind.
If your accounting firm is on board with these three points, you’re well on your way to becoming an accounting firm of the future. If not, it’s time to make some changes!
To learn how DocuPhase can help with the Automation & Integration pieces of your Accounting process, schedule a discussion with one of our Business Consultants today.