The accountancy profession has experienced a significant transformation over a past decade or so. Software solutions have revolutionised the way accountancy practices operate, and will undoubtedly continue to do so. Software solutions for accounts production, document management systems and payroll management, among many others, have changed the accountancy landscape and the way accountants approach their businesses. Technology is also consequently affecting the way the accountants’ clients and businesses of all sizes, deal with their accounts and tax affairs; a shift towards complete digitisation is obvious and clear.
Although not everyone is comfortable with the change and there is a constant tussle between the new and traditional. Tech-savvy accountants are eager to leverage the advantages these advanced software solutions offer – and the traditional tend to advocate a more conservative approach and slower adoption of these new technologies.
If you are unsure whether to embrace change or adhere to a more conservative transition, here are some of the benefits that digitisation can offer.
Digital Tax Returns
The Government announced the end of paper tax returns and Making Tax Digital (MTD), building the path for “digital tax accounts” by 2020. The rollout continues and MTDfB for VAT will start a live pilot in Spring 2018. With MTD as a focus, many accountants have changed the way they prepare and produce their client accounts. Many accountants have ditched traditional accounts production methods and taken their businesses digital. Adopting the approach promoted by Government does mean adapting business processes, but it does deliver real benefits in productivity for all. It means that records and documents are now digital and can be easily stored for clients. It also means that an accountant’s clients have to adapt to a new way of administering their businesses too. It means that many software solutions now play a specific role in many parts of the former traditional business processes. It also offers accountants more time.
Payroll Made Easier
Administering staff payments can be extremely time consuming. Calculating PAYE and NI liabilities, calculating holidays and managing maternity/paternity leave can take some considerable time. With the help of secure document delivery technology and payroll management software, the process can be easily automated. These solutions help ensure standards of HMRC for RTI (Real Time Information) are met and productivity can be increased.
Live Financial Information
With so many things to consider, manually forecasting is not at all easy. With the assistance of software and live data feeds from banks, forecasting to assist with the management of cash flow and future budget plans are available instantly and can be distributed easily as electronic documents. These solutions provide huge benefits, with live up to date financial reports, they offer a valuable financial snapshot and a verifiable assessment of a business.
Keeping a current and correct record of financial transactions is traditionally resource heavy. Bookkeepers benefit by using one of the many bookkeeping applications designed to help them with their tasks and to become more efficient and productive. Additionally, other solutions such as a DMS help organise electronic documents and files. With so many regulations, document management systems for the finance sector deliver further productivity and efficiency, and help ease the rigours of regulatory compliance.
Like every industry, accountancy is changing. Technology is providing and delivering productivity benefits to accountancy practices. However, technology is also changing this traditional profession. The adoption of technology may be phasing out the need for administrative accounting jobs but it is also providing huge opportunities. There is more time for accountants to focus getting to know their clients, to work with them and help them understand their businesses finances. And for those who are embracing the change these practices are finding new ways to win more business. New business is not only acquired by offering more efficient traditional accountancy services, but also by offering new service lines. Accountancy practices now offer many other lines to their clients including, wealth management, business advisory, finance, consulting and CFO services.
The Forces of Change are sweeping through the accountancy industry. Accountancy practices and the people who these business employ are having to adapt and innovate. With the vision to identify these forces and the ability to exploit them, the profession will continue to grow and will become stronger!