The accounting profession, like many others, is undergoing a significant transformation as the proliferation of mobile and cloud technology makes it easier to enhance productivity, facilitate client relationships and open the door to expand capabilities and services.
Technology is a driving force behind today’s evolving accounting firms. Surveys show technology facilitates client communications and improves employee connectedness. A Journal of Accountancy study of 1,750 firms showed that 70% utilize remote access to their networks, with half doing it via the cloud and almost another half making use of cloud-based software.
Meanwhile, mobile has become the preferred technology utilized by society – 90% of Americans own a cell phone, and 42% own a tablet, according to the Pew Research Center. That usage is also transferring to the business environment, and accounting firms are no exception.
Cloud computing, along with other technology tools, makes automating data collection, improving data quality and reducing validation time a possibility, according to Intuit’s Future of Accountancy report.
Mobile devices are becoming accounting firms’ most critical tools, enabling more efficient operations and equipping accountants with a host of apps and other cloud-based solutions that can facilitate sophisticated financial calculations or transform a mobile device into a portable hand-held scanner for client documents – allowing them to provide clients anytime, anywhere service from virtual offices.
As technology improves, accountants can eventually move toward consulting on business information analysis, and provide high-touch service clients value and expect.
Accounting professionals that expect to succeed in this changing environment must address multiple challenges:
- Staying on top of emerging technology trends relevant to their business environments.
- Being open to the implications of new developments as starting points for learning to use and leverage technology.
- Remaining apprised of the digital options reshaping clients’ business matters for those intent on maintain roles as trusted business advisors.