Are You Working In The Dark Ages? Let Pandle Help You Come Into The Light
Accountants need to be prepped and ready for the challenges that modern, digital accounting will bring. With huge new initiatives in motion to bring all accounting into the 21st Century, there’s every reason for your firm to be checking out new technologies.
Despite the need to look to the future, a new report from Xero has revealed that a worrying number of accountants are still using old-fashioned accounting methods and that many are even unaware of HMRC’s Making Tax Digital programme.
Paper and Pen
The report, Digital or Die, shows that astonishingly, nearly a fifth (18%) of accountants are still using paper ledgers.
Digital or Die, which is based on a survey of 673 accountants and 1,001 SME owners, also notes that over three-quarters (78%) of accountants still rely on spreadsheets.
Perhaps most surprisingly, considering the compulsory move to the Making Tax Digital scheme, is the report that a fifth of accountants said they didn’t think that moving to digital accounting is imperative to the industry surviving in the next 3-5 years.
Yet their business clients don’t seem to agree. 94% of SME owners said it was important for accountants to be up-to-date with the latest accounting technology. And soon, they’ll need their accountants to be digitally up-to-date – because Making Tax Digital is coming.
Are You Prepared for The Revolution?
The report paints a picture of many accountants caught in a contradiction – fearing the digital future, yet doing little to prepare themselves for the inevitable.
61% of accountants agreed that the finance and accounting profession is at a technological tipping point, with 48% worried about the speed of change in the accounting industry and fearing being left behind.
Yet only 17% said they’re very prepared for upcoming legislation, such as Making Tax Digital – and an unbelievable 25% of accountants were not aware of Making Tax Digital at all.
How can these accountants serve their clients properly if they’re unaware of such a major upcoming change? A quarter of SMEs said they believe it’s their accountant’s responsibility to keep them updated with the latest legislation.
Damon Anderson, director of partner at Xero, said: “It’s time to work smarter.
“The UK accounting industry is entering a new digital age, driven by unprecedented changes in accounting technology and a perfect storm of regulation from MTD, PSD2 to GDPR.”
Shaun Robertson, director of qualifications from ICAEW, commented: “Some accountancy professionals fear being ‘left behind’ by the speed of change, which is why it’s so important to learn about the benefits, opportunities and challenges of new technologies.
“In some cases, technology such as AI may supersede human efforts, however, it does not replicate human skills and intelligence.”
Mr Robertson added: “We need to recognise the strengths and limitations of different forms of technology, and build a better understanding of the best ways for humans to benefit from computers.”
Get to Grips with Digital – Before it Gets to Grips with You!
All accountants and businesses will have to get to grips with the digital revolution soon – because it will be a legal requirement. By 2019 all of your clients with a turnover of £10k or more will need to make quarterly submissions through accounting software to replace the tax return. And there’s a host of benefits to digitising your accounting, too.
The Digital or Die Report found that cloud-based accounting could save accountants 117.5 hours a year on average (15 days) by eliminating the time spent on administrative tasks – which costs approximately £3,153.70 per year, per staff member. 23% of respondents said cloud accounting could save them more than half a day per week (4 hours).
Cloud accounting also reduces errors because figures stream in automatically; there are fewer opportunities for human error occurring when figures are inputted or copied over. If you’re worried that the digital revolution might make you obsolete, though, don’t panic. Only 16% said they would trust their accounts to be managed solely by machines.
You may also be concerned that cloud accounting is expensive – and surprised to learn that this doesn’t have to be the case. There are comprehensive cloud accounting packages offering free and low-cost options, such as Pandle.
Pandle Makes Digital Simple
With a Pandle Partner Account, you can switch seamlessly between your clients. You can set up accounts for your clients, or they can give you access to their own Pandle accounts they’ve set up (which they can do for free).