Now may be a better time than any to consider the changes that are coming in the world of accounting. Whatever direction the profession is moving in, its future will depend on the economic, political, and social undercurrents in the world today. One thing for sure, accountants and accounting firms will have to adapt and adjust their skills to meet new requirements. Technological advances have caused traditional accounting practices to fade into the background, as modern techniques pave the way for more efficient methods of doing business.
But before any radical methods are initiated to leap blindly into the future, it’s necessary to understand the impact of these changes on the accounting profession. Historically, there have always been temporary setbacks including: recessions, depressions, inflation, bank failures, and market crashes. Moreover, in spite of recent changes, “the constant” of debits and credits has continued. In the past, meetings with accountants required on-site, conference room tables covered with spreadsheets and documents, and sometimes an accounting team would assist the client in his office.
Accountants had to figure out what book keeping entries had to be made for financial housekeeping, and list those entries for the customer to input into the system. Usually this took place when an accountant came to close the books. The accountant may also have had to make changes to correct possible customer errors while preparing adjustments or closing entries. This process, which required the presence of an accountant, often strained the budget of smaller businesses that didn’t have enough revenue to hire their own accountants on staff.
However, the days of manually adding up long columns of numbers while painstakingly ensuring that everything was balanced have given way to automation. Accountants no longer have to prepare journal entries or create financial statements. Without the grind of number crunching, which consumed hours hunched over adding machines, today’s accountants are better able to galvanize their careers and activate financial planning to help their client’s businesses grow. These developments have revolutionized the accounting profession.
The advent of cloud computing and mobile financial apps has allowed accountants to assume a proactive role in their accounting and bookkeeping activities. Consequently, customers now call on their accountants to obtain other skills including: business and tax planning, financial advice and guidance, and refined specialties involving technology and forensics. Accountants are no longer chained to desks in their offices. Mobility is crucial, because customers want instant access to the latest information at their fingertips on smartphones.
Accountants (and clients) can now view information in a variety of forms on demand, no matter where they are. They can also input or update new figures and changes as they happen from anywhere in the world. Add to this the fact that the cloud makes software upgrades much easier. Accountants hardly notice any changes as updates are integrated into cloud computing activities. System shutdowns, reboots, and loading programs on hard drives are a thing of the past. If a company decides to change platforms from PC to Mac, their accounting data won’t be affected.
Programs like Quickbooks have adapted to enable the accountant, from his desk, to access and make changes to a client’s data. With this cloud-based capability, accountants have instant, full access to the customer’s financial information, greatly impacting the speed of the business transaction. If notified, an accountant can check new data instantaneously in the event a client added or altered figures or information. When an accountant needs to make adjustments to a client’s records, he simply has to connect that information through the cloud.
He can also create ad hoc reports, and pull up corporate or small business tax returns, including payroll and sales taxes, while conducting several review tasks without pouring over reams of paper. Even the arduous task of auditing a customer’s books no longer requires an accountant to leave his desk. The watch words in the accounting profession today are “speed and efficiency.” Accountants facing the future will have to comply with these methods and technological advances in order to keep up with more exciting global developments.
Accounting Pro is prepared to handle any future challenges raised by changes in the accounting industry. We specialise in assisting small businesses, freelancers, and independent contractors and welcome the chance to help you watch your business grow.