Today the accounting profession is under pressure. Slimmer profit margins. Intense competition. The pandemic. The changing role of the partner. And most of all, a workforce shortage. Fewer young people coming out of college are choosing to become CPAs.
Is there a solution? Actually, there’s a combination of solutions (such as making the crucial shift from compliance to advisory), but here, in the interests of space, we’re just going to focus on one: using the magic of technology to create faster results, open new avenues, and yield new solutions.
While accountants are wizards of the bottom line, they’re too often burdened with outdated technology, which is insufficient to meet the demands of our post-pandemic world. How can CPAs keep up? A recent Accounting Today article highlighted three technological tricks that CPAs should take advantage of.
Migrate to the cloud
Post-COVID, remote work is the order of the day. Since the pandemic broke, on-premise infrastructure just doesn’t cut it, especially since accountants are forced to use a wide variety of software tools.
How do you unite a distributed remote team? The cloud is the one ring that binds them all. With a cloud-based infrastructure, CPA firms can drive up the productivity and efficiency of their teams by providing easy, instant access to the data and tools they need, wherever they’re located. Another advantage: it’s easier for employees to use for onboarding new tools and processes than with an on-premise legacy system.
When in doubt, automate! Automation is a key catalyst for the vitally needed transformation the accounting profession needs to make to go from compliance to advisory—that is, instead of merely helping client comply with current tax laws and file returns, CPAs should take a more pro-active stance and demonstrate their value as trusted advisors, showing their worth as strategic partners.
But to make the switch, you must spend less time on manual tasks and focus more on business strategy and other non-finance tasks. An article published by Sage reports 93% of finance workers declare they’d be happy to automate their daily accounting tasks via technology. Also, with tight budgets and a workforce that’s always expected to do more with less, automation is crucial to meeting deadlines and productivity goals.
What’s the right financial technology (fintech) for you?
It's easy for CPAs—or anyone in the financial services field—to blindly jump on the bandwagon and grab the new glittering, cool tech tool. But do you really need that 3-D printer (or whatever)? Take a minute and consider your needs clearly before you invest serious money. While a tool might seem irresistible on first place, could it, in the end, complicate your work ecosystem or make tasks more difficult?
If you’re an accountant, you already have a burdensome workload. How can you keep up with contemporary demands? First, identify your own urgent needs and reverse-engineer what solution will fit. Although this can be challenging with a global remote workforce, it will also save crucial time and money later on.
Remember “Let your fingers do the walking”? That was Bell Telephone’s slogan pre-cell phone, encouraging American to use the phone to accomplish tasks instead of legwork. In the same way, CPAs can tame technology as a labor-saving method to take their businesses to the next level and make the all-important transition from compliance to advisory.