Author: Daniel Richards, Strategic Partnerships Director, MyFirmsApp
In recent years, the accounting profession has faced a full-on challenge to change the mindset of clients who want to hang on to their old ways and haven’t been prepared to take on new digital tools. However, as we enter a new decade, there are encouraging signs that more clients are looking to concentrate on their core businesses and ditch the time spent on administration. There is at last a realisation that they can make their lives easier.
Receipt management is one area where change is long overdue. All business owners recognise that they need to record and keep track of their receipts. However, it hasn’t made sense for a very long time for clients to ram them into plastic bags and then drop them off at their accountants where long hours are spent sorting and entering them onto the accounting system.
Going the digital route allows receipts to be scanned on-the-go using a smartphone and gets rid of the plastic bag option in one foul swoop. Educating clients to deal with receipts immediately delivers huge advantages in terms of generating efficiencies and time savings for both elements of the partnership: the business owner and the accountant. And it can be achieved very easily by using the camera on smartphones to ‘snap’ receipts and send them over to their accountants in real time and strengthen the ‘working’ connection between client and accountant,
Adopting a digital approach to receipt management makes perfect sense in a country where 9 out of 10 adults own a smartphone. Referred to as a ‘truly mobile nation’ in the Deloitte Mobile Nation Report 2019, smartphones are now seen as more than just a way to make calls in Australia.
A good data allowance has helped facilitate the use of more than just their basic features and nearly half of Australians say that they use the more advanced features of their phones (Statista Research August 2019) such as mobile email and internet. This has helped mobile devices to be seen as vital tool for businesses and government with more than half of businesses reporting that mobile internet is important “to a major extent” for their activities (ABS, 2017a). It follows that any process for receipt management that uses a smartphone is going to find support amongst the business community.
But with so many receipt management tools now available, how easy is it to make the right recommendation to your clients? There are many different options; all with different features and benefits that are designed to take full advantage of the move to digitalisation, so the choice isn’t at all clear cut for accountants.
This is the dilemma facing a lot of the accountants we speak to who are struggling to understand the whole picture; from where to begin when thinking about Receipt Management Tools, the security around this technology, the storage of data and how best to encourage business clients to start using a Receipt Management App.
While some products have in common the facility to scan receipts and store them in the cloud, some are essentially a means of tracking employee expenses, saving the need for paper expense claims and often resulting in speedier payments to the employee. Others are aimed squarely at small businesses that wish to speed up and automate their bookkeeping by using their phone to take a photo of a receipt.
One thing is clear: clients will be looking to their accountants more and more in 2020 to help them streamline the administrative side of running their businesses. There is an opportunity for accountants to be seen as business mentors with wide ranging experience of the many digital tools that are available and are able to direct their clients to those most suited to their needs. The options range from an in-built tool within the accountant’s own App on the OneApp platform, which can be given to clients and is free for them to use to more sophisticated products that carry a monthly fee.
Being given a free receipt manager tool provides a great starting point for those clients that are wary of going the digital route and in our experience, they are happily surprised at how easy the whole process can be. And giving away free tools is a great way to add value and create a stickier relationship.
We are already seeing a shift towards accountants working with more than one chosen software partner, so clients aren’t shoe horned into a one size fits all approach.2020 will be about choosing the right tool for every client and ones that generate valuable efficiencies for both parties. There’s a lot to gain from persuading clients to go the digital receipt management route and firms could end up saving hundreds of hours that would once have been spent sifting through paper receipts.
OneApp is the leading App platform for Accountancy firms worldwide, that enables accountants to position their brand at the centre of their client’s mobile lives. MyFirmsApp was the first and original developer of bespoke Apps for Accountancy firms. Over the last six years, the company has grown to become the number one provider globally, having developed over 1200 Apps for accountants and bookkeepers, which are used by over 200,000 businesses daily to manage their finances.