A lot has changed over the past few years in the accounting industry. Firms have had to adapt quickly or risk getting left behind. It has left a lot of firms asking: How can you ensure your firm is ahead of the curve?
There are a few ways you can “future proof” your accountancy firm by taking the trends and the predictions for the future and making sure that your firm is adapting in line with them. Making these changes in your own practice could be the difference between surviving and becoming a serious competitor in the market.
We’ve all heard the rantings and ravings about cloud accounting changing the industry. However, according to research from Sage only 15% of accounting software used is cloud- based. This is despite the 87% of small businesses that say they want cloud-based services.
Although some firms may be resistant to migrating from legacy desktop software to cloud solutions, it could be very beneficial to start thinking about a cloud offering for clients to meet their expectations. By doing this you could provide improved efficiency and collaboration for clients.
Technology advances have meant that people are more than comfortable running various aspects of their life from their smartphone. It’s a source of communication, information and can be a pocket-sized business manager all in one.
Last year, web analytics company Stat Counter revealed that mobile use had overtaken desktop use for the first time. Mobile devices accounted for 51.3% of worldwide internet usage compared to 48.7% for desktop usage. They also found that Android usage (37.93%) had exceeded Windows (37.91%) for the first time this year, making it the top operating system.
With everything going mobile, your firm doesn’t have to set limits for itself when it comes to communicating with clients. For those running accountancy firms, it’s not always possible to be in the office but with mobile technology and cloud systems, you may not need to be if you can access everything remotely.
From a client’s perspective, they may need the ability to add information to their records while away from their desk if they’re someone who works at various sites. Going mobile by working in the cloud allows clients to create invoices on the move, check over records and make a note of expenses from wherever they want.
A 21st-century company has more opportunity to expand their business and offer things they may not have been able to previously. Clients appreciate being able to get multiple services from one source. It saves time and effort on their part that they would rather spend on building their business.
To keep ahead of the competition, some accounting firms are starting to offer additional products and services to clients. These include; software integrations, financial software consulting and software support. Hiring a dedicated person or team to concentrate on growing this area can help practices stay relevant over time as well as create additional sources of revenue.
Become a business advisor
Accounting is no longer something clients only think about at the end of the year. As the way we report tax is going to switch from annual to quarterly reporting, accountants and clients are going to be in more contact with each other throughout the year.
Whilst this transition will take time, we believe that clients will start to value their accountants much more as advisors for real-time situations rather than just end of year compliance. Therefore firms and their clients should stand to benefit.
Maintaining good working relationships between accountant and client is important as it makes all the communication more efficient. Clients like to know that you care about their business and want to see it succeed like they do.
Ensuring that your business model is up to date will ensure its resilience in the face of challenges like MTD, Brexit, changes in tax policy and changes in technology. Keeping up to date with the latest changes in accounting and tax can mean that you stand out against your competition in the market and are not left behind.
To help future proof your accountancy firm, head over to the Pandle website for more information.