Technology and accounting have been intertwined throughout the ages, each influencing the other. For example, what started out as symbols and tally marks eventually gave way to the abacus and “adding machines.”
Many a business accountant might remember a time not too long ago when important paperwork filled dedicated file storage areas. Now, electronic spreadsheets have replaced filing cabinets as “paper trails” have become a thing of the past.
Calculators and cloud computing technology advanced accounting functions to where we stand today. And cryptocurrency will, no doubt, bring about even more complex accounting software.
Modern-day accounting incorporates digital tools and trends such as artificial intelligence (AI), bots, and automation. You’re likely already using some form of these technologies to free yourself (or your accountants) of more mundane and repetitive duties.
As you read on about some note-worthy technologies assisting accountants today, think of the possibilities for streamlining your organization’s accounting processes, such as bookkeeping services, onboarding new suppliers, purchasing, paying accounts, and managing expenses.
With internet-based servers and data storage, you no longer have to invest in the space or bandwidth to run software or save years of data. It’s all done off-site, over the internet.
Additionally, you, your team, and your clients have instant access to information from anywhere around the world at any time via a mobile phone or laptop. Anywhere there’s access to the internet, cloud-based software can assist you, your team, and clients with working remotely on the same project.
Because of the cloud, businesses can reduce expenses like the costs of renting office space, file-keeping, and operational and travel expenses. Meanwhile, they’ll improve efficiency and add value to client relationships due to the more immediate access each will have to the other and to shared information. The result is a deeper connection and improved communication between the accountant and the client. Additionally, small businesses gain global access to clients and job applicants.
Cloud-based technology will rapidly change as machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), and AI become integrated. Organizations must focus on securing their clients’ private information to maintain trust and integrity.
You might be familiar with Robotic Process Automation in certain areas of accounting. RPA currently speeds up auditing and contract processes.
Automated technologies can transform the daily operations of accountants. Data entry, reconciling accounts, banking, and payroll are done more quickly, easily, and accurately by machine. Accountants benefit from extra time to analyze numerical data and run forecast scenarios.
We must be ready and willing to find and adopt new technology to assist with time-consuming tasks. Start with simple changes that can speed up accounting processes and add on as your organization gets the hang of it.
Blockchain technologies (from the creation of cryptocurrency) haven’t taken over accounting duties. However, the ideas behind the blockchain, like public ledger entries, are impacting our processes. We can apply the technology behind unalterable and publicly verified ledger entries to improve security and transparency.
Additionally, blockchain technology cuts out the middleman – the bank. Business partners can establish trust between themselves in a business transaction without using a financial institution.
While cryptocurrency and the blockchain improve security in transactions, they also add a level of difficulty due to their newness and the unpredictable values of crypto. Accountants must be able to comprehend, quantify, and report on blockchain and cryptocurrency transactions.
Enterprise Resource Planning systems connect different departments in a company through integrative software. As a result, accountants and organizational leaders gain a holistic view of the company. They can get a bird’s eye view of business performance and other company data at any given time (and in real-time) for advanced insights and comprehensive decision-making.
Accountants of the Future
Technology influences accounting, and accounting affects technology.
Duties will continue to shift away from documenting and calculating towards advising and consulting. All-encompassing, data-driven insights will drive strategies. Modern accounting trends like cryptocurrency will give rise to even newer technology to help us understand and compute complex data.
Technology has made accounting more efficient and less time-consuming. With it, accountants can move beyond repetitive tasks to perform higher-level duties, such as analyzing and forecasting. Running statistics, analyzing, and forecasting can occur faster and more precisely with never-before-seen interconnectivity.
The future of accounting looks better than ever as accountants become the trusted right-hand advisors to organizational leaders. This environment of fast-paced changes and tech-driven decisions means accountants should stay prepared for high-impact, high-value roles.
Accountants need a broad range of qualities – we must be tech-savvy with strong communication skills. We must be able to analyze, strategize, and lead.
Now, more than ever, adopting new software is critical to staying relevant and competitive. Accountants with hard skills, such as technical, computer, and analytical abilities, will be essential to business executives looking for guidance in all company sectors, such as IT and supply chain management. Softer skills, such as communication and leadership, are just as essential to hone as high-tech software takes over processes but can never take away the human touch needed to succeed.