The accounting sector has arguably been slow to adopt new technology, eschewing new, and often unproven, technology for older, tried and true tools. However, in the immortal words of Bob Dylan, “the times they are a changin’.”

With the changes to the audit threshold among other things, accounting firms are finding themselves reassessing and looking to expand their client services in order to continue growing their businesses. A big part of achieving this is improving efficiency. It’s becoming harder to ignore the potential gains in efficiency and revenue that can be achieved with the right technology. As a result, those in favor of change have reached a critical mass. The following are the top technologies enabling this change:

The cloud

Once feared, the maturity of the cloud has enabled even the most regulated industries to embrace the productivity and efficiency benefits of the cloud. In a recent study we found that not only were company-mandated tools used by fewer than half of respondents, they were regularly being circumvented in ways that undermine security and productivity, which in the end costs firms – not only in terms of time wasted, but in billable time lost.

The cloud can simplify workflows, increase client engagement and make it easier to access experts – something that is necessary for demonstrating proficiency and service breadth when pursuing new business.

Mobility

Like the cloud, end users are largely responsible for mobile adoption in accountancy firms. Firms have taken an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach to enterprise mobility, choosing to enable and control it rather than attempt to prevent it. By providing employees with the tools they want, firms have not only increased productivity, they’ve prevented Shadow IT and given themselves more control in the long run.

Big Data

Everyone talks about big data. It may be one of the most overused terms today. However there is a good reason for this. Today, 90 percent of businesses have at least a “moderate” investment in analytics technologies, talent, infrastructure and processes, with the majority of executives citing big data as critical for achieving competitive advantage.

As we saw in the research above, time wasted is revenue lost. In a time of increasing competition, improving productivity and efficiency will be key. Big data will play a big role in this.

It’s a time of big change in the accounting industry. Only time will tell what the next 3-5 years will look like, but it’s clear that technology will play a major part. Those who embrace these changes will have a crucial advantage and will be well positioned to meet growing client demands for transparency and simplicity.

 

 

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