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Technology Trends in Accounting 2021 Research Report
Discover the progress accountancy firms have made in their business and client service transformation, and what impact the pandemic has had on their use of technology.

The four sights of connected accounting

Joris Van Der Gucht
Written by: Joris Van Der Gucht

Introducing the sights you need to acquire for future success.

Technology has already changed bookkeeping, making it easy for small businesses to digitally manage their finances with the minimum of effort and with no accounting expertise.

Similar technology is also set to transform the lives of accountants. Accountancy will no longer be driven by number crunching and standard compliance tasks. Automation and technology will do that. What will matter is client service and cultivating relationships supported, and informed, by technology. This is because the client's world is being disrupted by new technology as much as accountancy is. Clients need accountants to help them prepare for the complex challenges of the current and future marketplace. They want, and value, advice and that’s a people business, augmented by technology.

Clients will value accountants who can act as their most trusted and valued business advisors. Their accountant will become an extension of their management team – using real-time data to explain what's going on in their business, inform their decisions, and solve problems, even before they arise.

Success in the future will come to those firms that use technology to connect real-time client data with automated workflows or processes, and then collaborate and communicate with clients to get their compliance work completed efficiently. Freeing up valuable time to invest in understanding their clients’ businesses and using the data and insights their technology provides to power their advisory services. All within one, integrated cloud accounting platform.

We call this connected accounting – a fundamental shift in purpose for accounting firms from delivering a transactional, compliance service to the creation of an advisory relationship founded on a deep understanding of the data that drives their clients’ businesses and insight gained from that.


The four sights of connected accounting

You will be a connected accountant when your firm has successfully passed through four key stages of digital maturity. We call them the Four Sights of Connected Accounting. As you pass through each stage your firm, team and clients are more connected; you unlock new opportunities for greater productivity, the development of new services, improved competitiveness, more revenue and profit.

1. Fullsight

This is the foundation of connected accounting, and focuses on data. The digitisation and consolidation of all client financial data, whatever the source, in one central data hub. A home for all your clients’ data that is updated automatically, and in real-time, from multiple bookkeeping systems and other sources, even paper files. All this data is securely accessible to you, your team and your clients.

Fullsight is about creating a reliable single source of truth – a complete vision of all your client data, up to date and available to you at all times. The basis on which all work – compliance or advisory – can begin.

2. Hindsight

Once you have all your client data – current and historic, centralised, standardised and always available – you can move on to Hindsight. This second stage of connected accounting moves from collating and standardising data, to utilising data in practical ways.

Hindsight is all about applying your data in automated accounting workflows to create an accurate view of the past. To streamline your compliance and reporting processes and improve its accuracy.

3. Insight

Fullsight and Hindsight allow you to transform your workflows. Insight – the third stage of connected accounting – is where you start to develop your value-added advisory capabilities.

Insight is all about putting yourself in a position to offer advice and guidance to your clients. You have the tools to look at the meaning behind the numbers and extract valuable business intelligence. And you’re also able to contact clients directly when immediate action will have the most impact on their business performance.

4. Foresight

Finally, we move from looking at past performance to using data and analytics tools to predict the future and power the development of new value-added client advisory services. Foresight is the final step in the transformation of a firm from compliance reporting to trusted business advisor.

Foresight is about connecting more deeply with your clients’ businesses and building your status as their most trusted advisor. Only by efficiently connecting with all financial data in real-time can you connect with your clients in a way that will deliver tangible benefits to their business, as well as unlock new services and revenue streams for your firm.

These are the four sights of connected accounting.

To discover how to unlock these sights, and to learn about the benefits they deliver, download our new eGuide.