Love it or hate it, technology is permanently changing, and accountants are now expected to keep abreast of these fluctuations in order to keep clients happy.
Gone is the day - and many may rue it - of employing a mere calculator, a good pen and a ledger.
Gartner recently released its 10 strategic technology trends for the coming year. These were centred on three themes: The merging of the real and virtual worlds, the advent of intelligence everywhere, and the technology impact of the digital business shift.
Indeed, at the 2020 Group annual conference in Birmingham recently, US chairman Chris Frederiksen spoke about firm's needs to cater for mobile workers, and focus on cloud and harnessing good data to provide clients with sound advice, and automate your own processes - thus giving you more time to do what work you do best.
Which is why it's perhaps unsurprising that according to the recent Xero Trends 2015 survey, more than 60% of firms think technology will have some or a big impact on them. But despite this, keeping up-to-date with technology is not seen as a major challenge for practitioners next year.
It could be that this is because - for around 27% of them at least - they are satisfied just as they are.
Making practices as user-friendly for staff and clients as possible, reducing fixed costs in running the practice and a need for clients to see them as tech-friendly were the top three technology priorities for survey respondents.
Other tech-related challenges included auto enrolment, which practitioners said will be the biggest pressure "from above" in 2015. And firms' tech and software set-up is for 37% of accountants an area they think most needs to change next year.
Getting clients to use the technology they wanted them to scored quite low, but the biggest issue was retaining current clients and making them more profitable.
Well-documented is the ability of using the right tech tools to create profitability for both the firm and the client. Drilling down to data, automating processes such as auto-population of tax and VAT returns and collaboration by use of cloud accounting packages can speed things up and leave the accountant open to spending time on what they do best - and what they think client wants most according to the survey: Tax advice.
Technology can help them too with what they think clients want second, third and fourth on the list - competitive pricing, collaboration and virtual FD services.
However there are a few things standing in an accountants' way. Barriers to change included time investment by a substantial amount (75%), followed by financial investment (32%) and convincing others in the practice of the need to implement change.
But the time spent implementing new systems adopting technology that suits your practice, can save lots of time in the long-run - and its a similar tale financially.
In addition, most practices aren't entirely sure they need to reinvent the wheel. More than 45% said "an evolution, not a revolution" was needed, simply to embed changes recently made. However, there's a split, with a further third that think they need to change quite a bit.
Whether its putting those already thought out practices into play or changing your systems entirely, you don't have to do it alone.
AccountingWEB's Practice Excellence Conference on 6 November at Dexter House, Royal Mint Court in London has a variety of workshops designed for every stage - and you choose which one you attend.
About Rachael Power
Your friendly, neighbourhood community editor.