Using accountancy services in the era of digitisation
Using accountancy services in an era of rapid growth of technology and emergence of automation is as important as ever – business owners just need to be aware of how to get the best from the services available. Like many industries, where digitisation of a variety of functions has taken place, the accountant’s role is changing – and businesses can capitalise on this sea of change.
There is a lot of rather scary talk and speculation about what jobs will be replaced by robots in the future. A report by Xero accounting software – which commissioned independent research last year -highlighted that 59 per cent of businesses believe they won’t need an accountant in ten years’ time. However, it is true to say that whilst many functions can be replaced by automated processes, there’s a lot to be said for the human element in any service, and the analysis and insight that brings. This is illustrated perfectly in accountancy.
Changing legislation – using accountancy services has the benefit of peace of mind that a business is being compliant in relation to aspects such as tax duties and payroll, where changing legislation can affect these mandatory duties. Legislation can often be complex in these areas and staying on top of it whilst trying to run a business can be onerous and time-consuming. Allowing experts to deal with this area on behalf of the business makes better sense.
Advice around funding – a business owner can of course explore sources of business funding for themselves, but using accountant services to help with recommending the right sources for the business needs is beneficial. Accountants will not only be able to advise on business plans/forecasts and accounts that will be required by any prospective lender, but may also have access to funding platforms. Whether traditional sources such as bank lending, or private equity and crowd-funding – advice from an accountant can aid the chances of securing the finance needed.
Using technology to assess business health – there is variety of accountancy software now available to help businesses digitise and automate time-consuming functions such as expense claim filing, invoice generation and bank account reconciliation. The great thing about going digital in this way is that accountants can have access to an ongoing picture of the business, identifying any potential issues – such as cash flow problems – early enough to act on them. It also means the accounts are always up-to-date, negating the end of financial year flurry of activity. The accountant can simply log into the back end of the accountancy software systems, as many of the latest solutions allow, and get all the information needed to form the tax return. This is a perfect example of where automation and digitisation, combined with human intervention, work together seamlessly.
Discovering value-add services – many accountants now offer fixed-fee packages to give a higher level of support to businesses looking to grow or take the firm to the next stage. This is something that could never be replaced by automation. Whilst automation can provide the data, analysing the available data and offering solutions and insight based on it is where the human value lies. Using data, an accountant can help identify any issues before they arise, as well as see any potential opportunities for the business that may have otherwise been missed – and advise how to capitalise on them. Delivering insight that is valuable to businesses is key for accountancy firms.
Businesses should embrace the technology that is changing the way many of us work, and look to form deeper relationships with their accountant to get the very best value for their business when using accountancy services.