There have been some massive developments in accounting tech recently. And as with any profession that’s quickly evolving, there are only more changes on the horizon.
But which ones do you need to be most aware of? We outline our top 4 below and the implications these will have for you and your clients.
Let’s all draw a unanimous sigh of relief. Tasks such as entering data, creating electronic documents and producing receipts manually will be a thing of the past. Jobs like this will be automated through sophisticated software and intelligent systems, meaning spreadsheets will soon be redundant, VAT returns will be digitised and a lot of admin tasks will instead be processed automatically.
When accountancy firms have implemented automation in their practice, it’ll not only make these repetitive processes faster but will also make them more cost-effective. Removing the human element from these processes will also reduce the margin for error. So, firms will be able to provide higher quality services without lifting a finger.
Although many views changes through a wary lens, these developments create new opportunities for accountants, making the dry, data processing part of their jobs easier. It also and frees them up time for the really interesting work, adding more value to their clients and services.
One of the biggest developments in 2018 was the new GDPR legislation introduced to regulate businesses in the protection of the public’s personal data. It forced many firms to modernise their processes when handling client information, and the effects are still being felt now.
In the post-GDPR world, you’re going to have to continue to be vigilant by regularly updating any processes and software that involve the capture and storage of consumer data. As well as having processes in place to remove this data if a consumer requests as such.
With tighter opt-in controls, marketing your services is a heck of a lot trickier too. However, because these consumers have actively asked to be included in marketing communications, they should be more engaged. Make your communications as relevant and personalised as possible. Be responsive and agile with your messaging, making it either timely, topical, or tailored to the contact.
3. The cloud
With automation being a big development, it’s going to be even more pressing for accountants to integrate cloud computing into their everyday processes. For many, there’s a reticence, perhaps due to being unfamiliar with new technologies, but once cloud accounting tech is set up and running, the advantages are clear.
You’ll no longer have to worry about spreadsheets going out of date just days after they’re updated. Cloud computing combined with the likes of Xero and Futrli will mean automated reporting and forecasts. You’ll have access to real-time insights in moments, updating constantly to give you the most reliable information.
When you’re not having to input data manually, into multiple systems and spreadsheets, you’ve got a ton more time to focus on hitting KPIs, boosting your offering to your current clients and winning new business.
4. Making tax digital
The Making tax digital (MTD) initiative is a key element of the UK government’s plans to simplify the tax process. It should make it easier for businesses to get their tax right and hopes to transform tax administration so the system’s more efficient and effective.
There are big advantages to this development. Digital records are more accurate. With the information being sent directly to HMRC, it avoids any transposition errors and will reduce the amount of tax lost to these easily avoidable mistakes. It should make the process quicker and easier, again saving valuable time to reinvest in more valuable exercises.
If any small businesses raise concerns with you about Making tax digital, regarding the pace of change, you can reassure them that the UK government stated they’d support businesses through the transition.
These accounting tech advances will make it easier to offer a wider range of services. And in turn, those services will also be of even higher quality thanks to the digital advancements. The early adopters to embrace these new technologies and trends will be the firms that prosper in 2019 and beyond.