3 ways to modernise your accountancy practice

21st May 2020
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The impacts of the Coronavirus are creating an indelible mark on the way business continue to function. But is it time to modernise your accountancy practice in the uncertain landscape?

Accounting is a competitive profession and you need to ensure you stand out amongst the competition. How you respond to the challenge of competition and adapt to client demands will ultimately determine your firm’s success or failure over the next five to ten years.

Now in its third year, the independent research within the Practice of Now 2019 report has revealed that an overwhelming majority of accountants (67%) feel the profession is more competitive than ever, and only 7% disagree.

Just under half of accountants surveyed have examined their business practices, and the majority believe the industry needs to pick up the pace of technological adoption.  

An important solution is keeping your practice is up-to date. You need to examine the way things are done, and seek to optimise and improve. Client services should always be in the line of sight.

Identifying the problem

How do you know whether your accountancy practice requires modernisation? Taking a look at your technology set-up could offer a clue. In the digital era, there’s no reason why cloud technology can’t be bonded to create an experience that everybody will appreciate.

Technology should be consistent     

Where does your data live? For the past few decades, accountants have built their industry on spreadsheets, but this approach is increasingly problematic.

For example, it is rare that a firm has one single spreadsheet with all the data on it. In most cases, you have data across several spreadsheets, and even have separate applications for the likes of managing client details.

If your firm is relying on spreadsheets, this could mean the way you do business might not be as efficient as possible.

3 ways to modernise your accountancy practice

In a nutshell, a good practice is one where everything is seamlessly connected. How can you make that happen? You need to pay attention to certain areas of the way you work – and to the technologies you use. Here’s how:

  1. Make better use of technology innovation

Technology is undoubtedly driving change in accountancy practices. With so much innovation taking place, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused about where certain technologies can come to into play.

However, adopting the right type of technology can turn out being exceptionally beneficial for your practice.

It’s therefore crucial that your firm puts an emphasis on education so you can begin to develop an understanding of exactly what different functions they have, the benefits they provide, and the processes they can improve.

Industry events such as AccountingWeb Live, Accountex and the Future of Finance Summit (UK), will go some way towards helping firms discover the latest products and trends. These events can offer you the chance to hear from the profession’s leading innovators and also provide perfect opportunities to learn from other accountants’ experiences.

  1. Adopt a future-gazing approach

Your firm should encourage the entire workforce to always have one eye on the future and be constantly planning on the next move to smarter, more efficient technologies. As such, you should avoid being too focused on the current ways of working and try to lead a future-gazing approach.

Adopting this visionary mindset may seem like a major challenge but it is vital for any firm wanting to remain ahead of the competition and being prepared for whatever is on the horizon.

Likewise, it is just as important to evaluate how future innovations could be worked to improve your client’s relationship and anticipate their future needs.

An approach like this, is one of your most valuable intangible assets of remaining competitive in the years to come. 

  1. Keep sight of your business goals

To achieve both long and short-term goals, firms will have particular technological gaps that need to be addressed.

In order to optimise their investments and help them progress to the next stage of digitalisation, solutions have to be carefully chosen with these technological needs - and the firm’s wider objectives in mind.

For example, you might want to enable accountants to access client data when working remotely, where it is mandatory to move away from face-to-face meetings.

Whatever your individual business goals, building compliance to building new revenue streams will help structure any digital transformation strategies and ensure you focus your attention on the right solutions.

Conclusion

One thing we can all agree on is that firms in the current climate certainly have their hands full.

But by adapting to change is going to be a key skill.

The only option for a practice that wants to grow and thrive is to embrace these changes.

With this philosophy in mind, modernisation as a process will provide competitive advantage for your practice to move forward into the future.

For all the latest information on Coronavirus support tools, please visit the Coronavirus hub.