Today’s accountants are inundated with countless think-pieces and guides surrounding emerging technologies, to the point where it seems as if we’re in a tech-driven utopia where the answer to all of our problems is adopting a new gadget. With the widespread adoption of technology comes certain risk, however, and many of today’s accountants aren’t doing enough to guarantee that the massive digitization movement we’re undergoing doesn’t backfire in their faces.
Here’s how you can better understand the risk of technology in accounting, and some of the key details you need to be keeping your eye on as your move full-speed ahead towards the digital age.
Many of today’s leading accountants got a head start on the competition when it came to the wave of digitization that rapidly enveloped the entire accounting industry. Even some of the earliest adapters of newfound, tech-based accounting strategies aren’t paying enough attention to cybersecurity, however. In the contemporary market, you can’t just make profitable use of data – you have to protect it. Thus, understanding cybersecurity should be the foundation of your firm’s operations today.
Besides the fact that you’ll need to be pouring some extensive funds into your IT infrastructure to remain both competitive and secure, you’ll also need to enlist the help of tech-savvy employees who won’t get your firm into digital hot water. That’s because humans are the weakest link the information security chain that keeps your digital operations secure on a daily basis. If your employees can be fooled into granting access to sensitive digital information to outside intruders, your entire firm’s reputation could be on the line.
Prioritize an employee-hiring regime that places an emphasis on recruiting tech-savvy accountants, and your firm will be all the better for it. Similarly, don’t consider it absurd to invest in continued training for your existing employees, many of whom may possess digital skills that are beginning to get rusty by modern standards. Check out some digital training techniques that place an emphasis on IT-literacy, and your firm will be mitigating many risks that come with employing technology for everyday business purposes.
Perhaps the greatest risk that comes with technology in the accounting industry is getting in over your head and investing too much in the wrong areas. While emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning programs offer tantalizing opportunities for companies like Zippa Loans, you need a diverse investment portfolio that makes sure your eggs aren’t all in one basket as it pertains to future technologies that will dominate your industry.
Future-proof your accounting firm
At the end of the day, avoiding the risk that naturally come with technology entails future-proofing your firm to a certain extent. This means ushering in a set of practices and policies that encourage flexibility and foster IT-literacy amongst your employees so that they can’t be caught off-guard by sudden changes to the accounting industry. If there’s one thing that’s certain to happen in the next few years, its continued innovation that will disrupt the existing market and throw many of today’s leading accountants off their game.
If you don’t have a strategy for future-proofing your firm, get started right away developing one. For every bit of time, attention, and money that you invest in new tech, however, you should be investing an equivalent amount in your human capital so that you always have reliable employees capable of actually using the latest gadgets. Expensive IT infrastructure without anyone capable of actually using it for business purposes will be a huge drain of your firm, after all.
Finally, understanding the risk of technology in the accounting industry entails understanding that tech in today’s world is seldom restrained to one area. To truly be safe from risk, your firm and its employees need to be operating professionally at all times – including when they’re posting things to social media channels during their personal off-time. A nasty image on social media is one way that many businesses in today’s market are tanking their reputation with the public.
Check out some of the techniques you can rely on to mitigate risks when posting things on social media channels and your firm will be safer from digital threats in no time. Not only do today’s social media platforms carry traditional risks, like data-phishing ventures that seek to exploit weaknesses in your human employees to gain access to your digital systems, but the PR risks of these platforms is also great. Foster a positive image for yourself there, and you’ll avoid many headaches in the future.
Above all else, don’t be scared of new technology – embrace it. Innovation is the one constant in the accounting industry, and those firms which fail to remain flexible will be the first to fail. The first step to overcoming the risk of technology is understanding it, so start investing in your digital future today if you want to remain relevant for long.