According to Ray Kurzweil, the famed futurist and Google’s head of engineering, there’s a cycle to technology adoption. “We see an early period of over-enthusiasm,” explains Kurzweil, “then a ‘bust’ when disillusionment sets in, followed by the real revolution.”
It’s a cycle we see replicated in accounting technology, too: the initial explosion of progress as accounting began its digital transformation, followed by bewilderment as clients and accountants adjusted to the new status quo.
To right now, here in 2017, where it’s time for accounting’s “real revolution”. A confident, modern accountant who:
- Augments his/her skills with smart tech
- Works collaboratively with clients
- Moves away from labour intensive, repetitive work
2017 is the year everything will make more sense
There was a time where software got a bit much. Your relationship with your client was riddled with gaps: payroll was here, profit and loss over there - it wasn’t a cohesive picture. Not for you and certainly not for your client.
In 2017, how you work with your client will be fully transformed by connected accounting software that will:
- Consolidate the different components of a business’s financial ecosystem into one easily managed space
- Give the accountant the information necessary to offer valuable advisory work
- Make it easier to keep the client invested in your expertise
Leave data capture to the machines
In 2017, there will be no need to do robotic work like data capture because, well, there are bots that can do it for you.
There has been tremendous advances in Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. OCR turns images into editable, shareable text.
You can snap a picture of handwritten notes and have a digital document produced in minutes, read to share with co-workers and clients. And the beauty of this is, it’s all searchable.
OCR is on track to end the era of:
- Hand entered receipts
- Draining, laborious data capture that detracts from valuable advisory work
- Messy, hard to find meeting notes
Make yourself a teammate
The key to building an advisory led relationship with a client is integrating your offering into their business’s daily life.
You can take proactive steps to building this kind of relationship by leaving the dreary world of email behind. The commercial world is replete with clever email killers like Slack and Atlassian’s Hip Chat. Some connected accounting platforms, like Silverfin, also have in-built chat/project management functionality.
Until now, most companies have used these apps to replace internal emails. In that vein, they’ve been very effective - but there’s another, bolder step you can take: integrating your clients into the software.
If you’re using a collaboration tool like Slack - or Silverfin if you want to keep it specific for accounting - invite your clients to view and partake in those conversations that are relevant to them. It would allow you to:
- Make your work transparent
- Consistently demonstrate your expertise in real time
- Centralise all communication, so colleagues can easily take over from each other
Moving away from email to integrated communication will require some onboarding. It is important to counter unrealistic availability expectations, for instance.
Explain to clients that while apps are instant, replies aren’t instantaneous. Both parties should keep it this way so productivity isn’t harmed by a constant to-and-fro. Instead, the aim is transparency.
Used correctly, communicating with clients from within an app can:
- Create a collaborative camaraderie between you and your clients
- Enable simple exchange of files and information
- Demystify accounting and create a better understanding of obstacles
The collaboration wave
In 2017, your clients expect collaboration. They already have it in banking, financial investments and social media. Accounting is just the next step in this collaboration wave.
But the onus is on you to facilitate this collaborative environment by investing in the tech needed. Embracing modern accounting’s real revolution will enable you to:
- Remove the boundaries of time and distance
- Streamline client contact
- Eliminate arduous, repetitive tasks that detract from real, valuable work
- Elevate your service to new levels of convenience
And, perhaps most importantly, it will make you and your service indispensable.
If you would like to see all aspects of Connected Accounting in practice, in one digital ecosystem, then get in touch on this link and we’ll organise a good time for an online demo.