Before electronic spreadsheets, calculators seemed to be the most high-tech machine that delivered the most accurate results. But while it helped streamline an accountant’s job, it had plenty of restrictions. Accountants still had to keep track of a business’s functions through paper entry. They used journals and ledgers and filed tons of receipts, invoices, vouchers, and more. All of those papers were handwritten, so every accountant must be highly methodical and detail-oriented.
Today, those skills are still required in an accountant, but their work has significantly changed since the era of calculators. Computers replaced handheld calculators, and all paperwork became digitalized. Excel spreadsheets came with all the functions an accountant could ever need. It allowed them to create all kinds of financial documents on one device.
Later on, accounting software came to be, which offered more sophisticated functions than an Excel spreadsheet. It computed taxes and other payables, as well as receivables. So accountants can now perform statistical accounting and financial forecasts with greater efficiency.
With technology having more in store for the years to come, here’s how it could shape the future of your accounting firm:
Artificial Intelligence Will Further Increase Productivity
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is why computers can take on human tasks such as basic computing. AI algorithms allow your computers to perform time-consuming administrative or clerical tasks. This can give you more time to focus on delivering actionable insight. The more you rely on AI, the more time you can dedicate to doing what you’re best at. Whether that’s financial analysis, forecasting, or cost-reduction strategies, you can expect your own productivity to boost. As a result, your clients experience more streamlined services from you.
Blockchain Technology May Impact the Demand for Accountants
If you’ve been keeping track of banking, cryptocurrency, and investment trends, you’ve probably heard of the term “blockchain technology.” It is a type of database that structures data into “blocks” chained together, hence the name “blockchain.” The Bitcoin network uses this technology for its record-keeping.
The nitty-gritty of blockchain can be complicated, but here’s how it works basically: A new transaction will be entered into the database. It will get transmitted to a network of peer-to-peer computers all over the world. The network of those computers will solve equations to confirm the validity of the transaction. Next, the legitimate transactions will be clustered together into blocks, then be chained together to create a long history of all transactions. And finally, the transaction gets completed.
Blockchain technology can influence the future of accountancy because it creates a possibility of a new type of accounting ledger. This ledger can be continuously updated and verified, much like blockchain record-keeping. And since users can access blockchain records in real time, it’s no wonder why the technology has caught the attention of accountants. In fact, the Big Four accounting firms — Ernst and Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, and KPMG — have already adopted blockchain.
Robots May Become the New Accounting Assistants
As if AI algorithms aren’t enough, you can also turn over your administrative tasks to autonomous robots or robots that aren’t physical entities. They can handle repetitive and time-consuming tasks, allowing you to focus on document analysis and processing or strategic planning and advisory work. Instead of AI, autonomous robots use IA or intelligent automation. It can mimic human interaction and even understand inferences from client communications.
Marketing Strategies Will Be Focused on the Internet
As internet algorithms continue to improve, we can expect potential clients to come across different accounting firms when they’re browsing the net. As such, your accounting firm should have the best ads and the most useful content on its website. The more optimized our website is, the higher it can rank on search engine results pages. And the higher the traffic you drive, the more your online presence can be felt on websites other than Google.
You should invest in an innovative web design for accountancy firms to strengthen your online presence. A strong online presence will make you visible on all the sites your target market visits, including social media. Social media presence is particularly crucial. More and more people regularly use various social networking sites to socialize and connect with companies and services. Hence, you must ride with the tide and get ahead of your competitors through heavy internet marketing.
The pandemic also influenced the way individuals increased their income. Before, many took in more work, but now, they’ve started to venture into small businesses. These businesses are online-based, so they may also demand your services in time. With substantial knowledge in technology, you won’t just be their accountant, but also their reliable IT advisor.