Industry 4.0 – How is it shaping the Accounting Industry?

The world has changed

We work with a young generation. We have reached the end of a cycle, everything has matured, we see full adoption of Mobile phones and social media. All clients are digitally connected, online the entire time. So, looking forward we are looking at a new phase, it’s not just the client who is connected but the entire context is becoming digital (becoming smart).

We have shifted a long time ago from a digital first world and now transitioning from a mobile first world to an AI first world.

This is the new world, A world where social media has changed the way we communicate, where technology has changed the way we work and a world where technologies have changed the client relationships.

For the first time in history, multiple waves of key technological innovations are taking place simultaneously. We have only ever experienced one innovation at every revolutionary phase. In the 1st industrial revolution (early 1900’s) the innovation was manufacturing. In the 2nd industrial revolution (mid 1900’s) the innovation was distribution.

In the 3rd industrial revolution (late 1900’s) the innovation was information – who remembers the floppy disk 😉 and after the turn of the century, we are now in the age of the customer, the 4th industrial revolution or also known as industry 4.0. NOW we see at least 6 key innovations that are disrupting every industry and that’s just to name a few!

  • Mobile
  • IoT
  • AI
  • Robotics
  • Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR)
  • Blockchain

By now everyone is convinced it is time for a DIGITAL FIRST client relationship. So much of what we do now, how we interact/transact/communicate or organise is done digitally, which means the quality of the client relationship is ever more important. So how is this impacting the accounting industry, let us explore this…

Tech is becoming more important to the accounting industry

Compliance and Regulations governing the accounting industry creates many complex processes for accounting firms. Many of these processes often correlate to challenges accounting firms face and these challenges affect clients and staff alike.

The key is to automate as many processes as possible and this is a form of digital transformation. Adopting a practice management system that is cloud based, rich in its integration capabilities, mobile first and a powerhouse of analytics/insights and meaning are amongst the key criteria for a digitally transformed firm. Without this the accounting industry faces the biggest consequence should it not transform digitally. Consequences of losing clients and staff alike…

Consequence of losing your clients

Clients, from SME’s to large corporates, rely heavily on accountants and auditing firms, yet this industry is one of the slowest to adopt a digital first approach to client relationships. All clients are digitally connected, online the entire time.

According to an article from Bloomberg millennials and generation Z will account for over 60% of the world’s population. This is also reflecting in the accounting workforce currently and more so over the next few years.

This creates an expectation that the apps and software being used by these “generations” should be as intuitive and familiar to use as the day to day social media services and messaging apps. Having an online practice management solution that encompasses real time interaction with your clients is imperative.

Instead of files being manually uploaded, followed by an endless trail of email queries, the advent of the single ledger enables you to collaborate online with your clients from anywhere, anytime in real time. There are enormous time savings and efficiency gains to be had by collaborating online, being able import a trial balance into the tax return, update the work papers and lodge the tax return with the ATO in a seamless end to end online process.

This information should be available in the client view in the practice management system and set off a series of workflows and tasks for staff and managers to keep on top of the jobs assigned to them.

Let’s go even further and generate the invoice and have the cloud-based document management portal send a link to the client, where they can click a button to make a payment and have it immediately reflect on their account in your practice management system.

Consequence of losing your staff

The Accounting workforce also depends on their firm transforming digitally. They want to increase their digital experiences to be relevant, they want to exploit their critical thinking skills, they want to be free to be creative and solve problems and they want to have autonomy/work from anywhere so that they can be more equipped to offer a higher value of service to customers in this digital age.

Business intelligence empowers your employees with surfacing data that already exists in your practice management solution. This unlocks their potential interface with clients at a whole new level by being able identify risk profiles or generate a financial plan.

A mobile solution has become imperative as smart devices have become part of everyday life.

Whether it is tracking time and submitting their expenses from the mobile app directly into the practice management system, finding a client’s contact, WIP and debtors details or geolocation, this is only a fraction of the power that can be unlocked – Watch Video

As technologies such as IoT continue to evolve biometric authenticating to access systems and navigating software through an artificial intelligence instead of endless menus, innovation will provide faster, simpler interactions over complex and more secure systems.

 

The GreatSoft Suite of Practice Management solutions can help solve complex problems in the Accounting Industry.
Secure the future of your practice – Book a consultation with us today.

 

 

Brian Armstrong

Managing Director at GreatSoft Australia
With an impressive management career spanning over 30 years in business, IT and professional services, Brian started out as an entrepreneur who quickly developed an international track record having built and grown several companies from start up to national and international firms in South Africa, UK, New Zealand and Australia. With extensive CEO, board and sales management experience in both private and listed companies, Brian has a worldly perspective on leadership, and in particular, sales strategy and people.
Brian Armstrong

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Brian Armstrong

With an impressive management career spanning over 30 years in business, IT and professional services, Brian started out as an entrepreneur who quickly developed an international track record having built and grown several companies from start up to national and international firms in South Africa, UK, New Zealand and Australia. With extensive CEO, board and sales management experience in both private and listed companies, Brian has a worldly perspective on leadership, and in particular, sales strategy and people.