September 26, 2018
As a growing business, becoming digital should be one of your strategies. Technology has been and will keep evolving and will let businesses ride it to their way to success. The accounting industry has been changing for the last few decades and technology and accounting outsourcing companies have a key role to play here. The change has been positive and is helping the accountants grow. Anyone who doesn’t embrace technology will become extinct soon, as their clients, competition, partners, and industry will still become digital and won’t be in the same league as them.
A research done by McKinsey mentions that 86% of all accounting tasks can be automated using the existing technology. To many, it may be a major threat. However, if these powerful tools of automation and innovation are used correctly, then the strategic value of accountants can be increased manifold. Technology can be used to change the role of the accountant, not replace it. Accountants must re-define their approach to digital accounting so that their skills are not wasted in mundane tasks. By doing so, they can work harmoniously use technology to get a better output.
The planning that needs to be done to become digital is equally important and unless done right, it may not yield expected results. Either you plan it yourself or decide to do accounts outsourcing to make it digital, it is important to choose the right technology, train your people, to communicate to your client about the change, to plan the addition of new services that you can cater to and few other things that need focus as mentioned below.
Hasty decisions attributed to confusion and over-complication lead to disastrous consequences. Well-defined goals have to be framed by accountants and be properly mapped out. Accountants should identify problem areas and potential areas for improvement. After identifying them, they have to set targets for their timely completion. This will give them a clear vision of their purpose.
Accountants must focus on cohesive strategies after fixing the goals they want to achieve. The strategy must contain all action plans and layouts of all plans. It cannot be done in one day as the plan might keep evolving depending on the business environment. Accountants must view their practice objectively and make rational decisions. Hence it is important to decide on the right clients, the right team and the best working methods and processes to be successful during the long haul.
Increase the service portfolio
Digital accounting is a broad field which offers accountants a lot of scope to deliver profitable services and also gives them an opportunity to extend and upgrade their existing services. The addition of new services and in turn revenue streams have increased after the surge of digital accounting. Many firms have reported an increase in revenue growth due to this aspect. This will give accountants a significant advantage to use.
Match your needs and the right technology
Technology is the central base for digital accounting. Accountants should choose the right software to take care of their daily processes and which can be tweaked to make it in line with the company’s processes. It is important to choose the software based on factors such as the size of the firm, requirements of clients and the firm’s specific area of expertise. The benefits of the software and the changes it will bring about must be clearly explained to the firm’s employees. This can help prevent any employee resistance due to change in software or additional processes. The clients should also be briefed on the adopted technology. In this way the firm can gauge their expectations and work accordingly.
Recruit to build the core team
Having the right team on board is key to a successful digital transformation. Talented and hard-working people are required to pull off the job which is why proper recruitment is a must. Digital accounting requires tech-savvy accountants and business advisory professionals with experience in customer service. You may also look at accounting outsourcing companies and use their staff instead of getting into hiring and training.
Train and get your team ready
Once the right software and team are finalized, the selected team has to be briefed on the processes of the company and trained according to company requirements. Training is one of the most important elements as members of a team can be taught to tap into their full potential. This will boost productivity. Online educational resources and video lectures can also help team members understand various experiences and along with real-time simulations, get them out of their comfort zones. These efforts will make sure they don’t falter on the job and offer clients the best services. They should be given enough time to take in the learnings and their progress should be routinely monitored. Necessary feedback should be given at the end of every self-assessment tax return.
Segmentation for better facilitation
Firms cannot focus on their clients all at once. It is important for clients to be segmented to facilitate the rapid move to the digital space. The idea is to introduce the new software to the initial clients and familiarize them with its usage. Their online presence will attract more clients. Starting with internal clients is a smart way to increase efficiency as clients won’t have to change their processes. This can be followed by clients who do their own accounting and bookkeeping services. These clients will be ready to avail of any software solution which can streamline their operations. Firms can then be prepared to supply the suitable data necessary for operations. The transition from desktop software to online accounting will be made easier and help clients understand the difference digital accounting makes.
Educating clients about the change
Digital accounting is susceptible to resistance as it entails moving accounts online and may question confidentiality. Clients should be assured of the transparency and efficiency of online accounting to make sure they become comfortable with the process. Any queries they have should be answered with and all doubts regarding functioning cleared. The right information can do away with all concerns.
Going digital is not an easy task and requires careful planning. This is to avoid any obstacles and bumps on the way. Once the initial struggle is over, it is well worth the wait and to start enjoying the benefits of digitalizing and automating the mundane tasks while giving importance and time to more critical areas. Or you need not get into the entire planning and look for an accounting outsourcing company to plan for your accounts outsourcing and digitization by an expert in the industry.
BY: AMIT AGARWAL
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