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accounting technology

How technology has impacted accounting—from compliance to strategy

Over the past decade, technology has driven a profound shift in the way accountants work. From tax workflow automation and tax strategy to data analytics, CPAs who embrace accounting technology trends are well-positioned to thrive long term. 

How has technology impacted accounting?

From increasing accuracy to optimizing tax workflow to freeing up time for more value-added activities, technology has transformed the accounting industry—for the better.  

Accounting firm technology trends

Automation 

Today, automation is the name of the game. For accounting firms in particular, the automation of day-to-day accounting activities can not only save time and increase revenue but can also boost staff engagement levels.

So how does automation work at an accounting firm? Cloud-based accounting technology is relied upon to complete repetitive, tedious tasks and creating efficiencies that free up accountants for more meaningful work. From initial data collection, through preparation, review and final delivery, a customized, end-to-end accounting technology solution provides a seamless tax workflow process from start to finish.

For accounting firms looking to grow, scale or expand offerings, automation enables accountants to leave manual work behind. That means no more inputting data multiple times into a spreadsheet or relying on paper-based forms. With tax automation technology backed by artificial intelligence and machine learning, today’s accountants are saving time, boosting accuracy, and optimizing tax workflow.

The result? By automating non-billable and low-value activities, accountants can shift their focus to proactive, value-added activities that are more rewarding—and more profitable.  

Advisory services 

By providing a solid foundation for streamlined accounting processes and automated tax workflow, accounting technology frees up time for accountants to focus on better serving clients with advisory services. This shift outside of traditional tax compliance positions accountants as trusted advisors or consultants to individuals and businesses.

By offering support beyond tax season, accountants can demonstrate value throughout the year—and that means stronger client relationships and a business that thrives long-term.  Adopting an advisory services model backed by accounting technology enables a profitable shift that can result in more sustainable revenue. In short, accounting technology enables accountants to focus less on tax return preparation and more on the value they provide to their clients.

How has accounting changed with technology?

When it comes to tax laws and regulations, the only constant is change. To keep pace, relying on accounting technology is key.   Today, accountants need access to thoroughly integrated and up to date tax research and editorial insight to provide clear and meaningful guidance to clients. Backed by machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), accounting technology can help accountants at all levels find answers to tough questions and support clients with confidence.

From a strategic perspective, communicating relevant tax information and guidance to clients positions accountants as an invested and committed partner—and that means stronger client relationships.  

How do you choose the right accounting technology?

The right accounting technology can act as the backbone of your accounting firm. When choosing an accounting technology provider, make sure to look for a solution that automates your entire tax workflow, delivers time-saving tools, and adds value for your clients. Features like an instant tax prep checklist and pre-populated returns can maximize your productivity, while cloud-based software that combines write-up, trial balance, payroll, and financial statement analysis can help streamline your operations.

In today’s fast-paced landscape, accounting technology that offers real-time collaboration is vital to meeting expectations and delivering value for clients. Secure, cloud-based accounting technology allows accountants to exchange files, assign tasks, and collaborate on edits with clients and staff for an improved experience.

Further, accounting technology can offer accountants a built-in practice management solution to manage the day-to-day operations of the firm, including revenue management, client contact, project management, and time management. Accounting technology can even provide a snapshot of performance highlights on a digital dashboard, including key performance indicators (KPIs) which offer a bird’s eye view of the firm’s overall performance.

From a tax research standpoint, look for accounting technology that includes access to thoroughly integrated and up-to-date tax research materials, editorial insight, productivity tools, online learning, and news updates. With that ability to quickly access trusted answers, you can help clients make confident decisions quickly.  

How will technology change accounting in the future?

Building a digital-first workplace 

The next generation of accounting technology delivers the latest in artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, and machine learning technologies. With technology impacting accounting in so many ways, forward-thinking firms are developing strategies to embrace these accounting technology trends and use them to engage younger generations in the workforce.

By incorporating technology and adopting more collaborative management practices, accounting firms can gain the upper hand in the war for talent. With the elimination of tedious manual process, a focus on tax strategy, predictive analytics, and deeper relationships with clients is sure to attract quality candidates. Accounting firms that offer hands-on training opportunities may gain a competitive edge as well.

While implementing the latest accounting technology is not the only way to draw in new hires, it provides a foundation for what prospective employees want—more high-value work, flexible working arrangements, increased productivity, and support to grow. If there is one thing that’s certain, it’s that up-and-coming talent expect technology and automation to be in place.  At the end of the day, technology will change accounting in the future by enabling a digital-first workplace that attracts top talent. Technology not only automates manual tasks, but also increases accuracy and optimizes workflow.

The future of the accounting industry is a shift to providing tax strategy, data analysis, and advisory services. From consulting on new regulations to providing guidance on business expansion, accountants can strengthen client relationships while showcasing to younger staff and prospective employees that accounting is about more than just tedious compliance work.  And that’s a combination that will ensure success for accountants both now and in the future. 

How do I find accounting technology? 

Look for an established accounting technology provider offering solutions designed specifically for accounting firms. From machine learning and artificial intelligence to data analytics, accounting technology can help you unleash your firm’s full potential.    

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