As an industry, accounting is experiencing a period of great change – due in most part to the massive technological advances happening at the moment. It almost seems that if you blink, your firm and clients may miss the next big trend or opportunity. However, with change comes many challenges. Accounting’s-new-age-Ezidebit
Working in the cloud
Cloud accounting represents one of the biggest technological changes to the business in decades. The emergence and huge growth of services, like Xero, have shaken the traditional out-of-the box reporting software packages to the core. But this new era is also bringing about a fundamental change to the relationship between small business clients and their accountant.
While it’s still only relatively early in this shift, new technologies are changing the mindset of clients, their expectations and even the way they run their operations. Work/Life Balance is now dominating the discussion and is a very real focus for many small businesses. So too is having fast access to information.
Adapting to the change
We’re also moving towards a more paperless, automated world, where the spotlight for small businesses and firms will soon be on which jobs and skillsets are no longer required. This has mainly arisen from manual processing tasks being replaced by fully automated mobile invoicing and reconciling functionality offered by cloud-based accounting and integrated payment collection systems.
The available technologies are creating greater efficiencies in so many different areas of business. This can lead to improved performance and profitability. Unfortunately, these efficiencies may also mean that small business clients are beginning to review the value they’re getting from their accountant.
Reviewing your value
The time spent (and charged) by accounting firms for bookkeeping services, the preparation of financials and operational reporting has now been greatly reduced with the help of cloud-based accounting software. Much of it is automated and many small business owners now have real-time access to financials without even asking their accountant.
Worst of all, clients will quite rightly argue the point that if processing head hours have been reduced by cloud accounting, why isn’t their bill less? To meet this challenge, firms will need to show clients that the true value lies not in the processing of data, but in the astute analysis and interpretation of it, as well as the advice gained from years of experience dealing with small businesses and the ATO.
An opportunity to shift focus
With this in mind, accounting firms may need to shift focus to a more efficient operating model that balances automated processing, client tasks and management of client relationships. They may also need to look carefully at offering more proactive consulting and advisory services to their business.Educational training in cloud accounting and reskilling should also be on the list of things to, especially if your firm wants to make the very most of this new, ever-changing small business landscape.