The old stereotype of the accountant, hidden away in their office behind a pile of invoices and tax returns with only a calculator to keep them company, is officially history. As technology takes over the basic tasks of accounting, accountants are embracing their new client-oriented roles and changing with the times.
Here are three technology game-changers that are changing the face of accounting forever.
There was a time when those studying for an online MSA degree would spend hours on data input, checking ledgers and balances, and double-checking entries (sometimes by hand!). Fortunately, times have changed.
OCR (optical character recognition) and cloud computing have created a work platform that allows financial documents and data to be read by computers, checked by computers, and presented to accountants for analysis. Cloud computing allows accounting data to be inputted and checked from virtually anywhere in the world, releasing accountants from their place behind the desk and letting them interact with colleagues at every level of the organization.
Time-saving systems give accountants the opportunity to look deeper at the company’s financial data, perform advanced statistical analysis, and spend a lot more time advising clients. Using OCR and cloud technology and combining it with mobile apps that let them interact with clients and colleagues, accountants are re-defining themselves as influential business advisors.
Going beyond traditional accounting and analyzing their clients’ cash flow situation, marketing strategy, and HR challenges, today’s accountants are helping their clients in ways that were never possible before.
This new role is opening the field of accounting to client-oriented professionals, problem-solvers and other dynamic candidates who may have passed up the opportunity to study accounting in the past. Recently, experienced business professionals are finding it rewarding to career-switch by completing an online masters in accounting.
Social media, especially Facebook and LinkedIn, is the perfect platform for accountants to reach a wider audience and with the number of entrepreneurs increasing, there’s a big audience of people out there who need dynamic business advice.
From attracting new clients to keeping their current client base updated on tax and business regulations and management tips, accountants have shed their reclusive image and are becoming go-to gurus for a new generation of business owners who go online immediately when they need business advice. Students and career professionals can also search for online MSA programs and check them for legitimacy using social media, making excellent contacts before they graduate.
Accounting is as technical today as it ever was – in fact, technology has made accountants free to analyze business data even more deeply instead of slaving over a ledger all day. Clients are discovering a new side of their personalities as they work closely on management and strategy planning and explain the in-depth aspects of business data with entrepreneurs who are often too busy to focus on the dollars and cents.
As the future of accounting unfolds, we can look forward to a more social, hands-on experience from our accountants as they become management partners and trusted advisors. With technology progressing faster than ever, the depth of knowledge and quality of accountant-client relationships will only get better as time goes by.