How Changing Trends Are Impacting The Accounting Profession
With technology advancing at an increasing pace, most accountants are faced with diverse concepts like hosted applications, mobile computing, Cloud based accounting, and digital plumbing.
Such technology shifts are causing giant shifts in the overall paradigm of the business model accountants follow. For most accounting firms, this shift may be overwhelming too considering the way it would relieve the stress of delivering client work urgently.
When talking with accountants about implementing these technology changes, the fact that comes to light is that a nominal percentage of them are confused and so not accepting the change.
Implementing a Change is Indeed Hard
In conversation with some accountants working in small sized firms, it was found that they have a lot of questions in regards to the new technology being proposed. Some of the typical questions accountants ask include –
- What all accounting problems can we solve with this technology?
- Why shouldn’t I stick to my existing technology and keep doing the way I have always done it? I have been quite successful with my current practices then why to make a change.
- Why should I adopt the change when my clients already like my work and they don’t want me to change my business model.
- Why should I make costly changes today when I am near to retirement?
When we talk about larger partnerships, older partners get negative incentives when they invest in change. This happens because it will take considerable number of years before such investments actually start to pay off.
Changing Trends Responsible for Current Business Scenario
In order to answer these questions, we need to consider the difference existing between today’s business relationships and those existing 10 years ago. At present, all businesses, whether small or large, are expected to have a website that allows customers to purchase services/products and obtain support as required.
Ten years back from now, neither of this was expected. However, it can be said that these changes have significantly improved the mutual relationships existing between businesses and their valued customers.
All of these services require centralization of data, and global access anytime, anywhere. Businesses may choose to go for a private Cloud, public Cloud, or simply a hybrid one.
Ignoring the Changes May Prove to Be Risky for Accountants…
Now it’s pretty much evident that the accountant-client relationship is extremely fundamental to business success. Hence, accordingly, all such shifts in expectations of business-to-business relationship should be at the core of the business environment existing today.
Having explained the importance of these changes, accountants ignoring these shifts are going to be in deep-deep trouble.
Most importantly, the danger is at the doorstep and not in the future. So, measures need to be taken accordingly.
Industry experts suggest that this was by accident long time ago when Apple and Microsoft almost destroyed the accounting profession.
The PC revolution came into light in the 1980s. Ever since that time, accountants have almost lost access to the data ( including general ledger and other related information) that was required for client services. “Client-centric software” has been attributed the main reason behind that.
Such advanced PC-based solutions allowed business owners to perform own bookkeeping tasks and work on financial statements on their own. Though it seemed great in many ways, but it was adversely impacting the business model for accountants.
The innovative PC Revolution shifted the profession away from being a simple business partner to being a servant capable of offering commoditized services.
The New Standard for “Most Trusted Advisor”
At present, the need of the hour is to embrace the trending paradigm for “Most Trusted Advisor”. It’s always expected that as an accountant you need to be the “Most Trusted Advisor” for all of your clients. But, how do we define that in real terms?
In context of the relationship existing between accountants and their clients, Most Trusted Advisor may be someone –
- Handling the money
- Handling bookkeeping tasks
- Entering data
- Filling out forms and filing the tax returns
- Producing financial reports about “yesterday’s” results
All of these services have effectively flourished in the “traditional-world” of client-centric software. A number of firms have gone for building significant businesses around such models. Definitely, these roles are crucial in the comprehensive picture of the businesses we have to serve.
Valuable Tip for Accountants – Make the Move to Cloud
At present, a big shift to Cloud and mobile is being seen. Apps are available for virtually everything to allow for optimum maturation of the business process. Mobile devices provide the mainframe power in your pocket.
With all your data in the Cloud, you can access information from anywhere. Consider for example, the case for hosted QuickBooks. You rely on one of the most reliable QuickBooks hosting providers to access mission-critical files while being on the go.
The benefits of Cloud are manifold besides anytime, anywhere access. All these benefits collectively lead to the betterment of accounting processes and standards. This alone explains the essence of Cloud accounting in the current accounting industry.
If you do make the leap to effectively embrace Cloud not only for your accounting firm but also your client’s business processes, you will gain a lot.
It will moreover allow you to reclaim, nurture, as well as grow as your most trusted advisor for your clients. After all, that’s what almost every accountant wants to achieve.
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