Over the last 10 to 15 years many accounting firms have seen the business context in which they operate change dramatically. Cloud computing, automated workflow, exception-based processing, customer relationship management software – once the realm of big business are now available as technology choices for accounting firms wanting to build and maintain a competitive edge.
Be the practice clients want to buy services from
Today there is a real need to focus on how the convergence of technology and collaborative tools, as well as the new service expectations from clients can be managed all at once by a professional practice. Cloud accounting platforms can also now connect you and your clients to financial services and business software, adding even more value.
In the recent survey Wolters Kluwer Business Intelligence: Navigating the Future 2017 survey, 32 percent of our respondents had established their firm in the last decade, a time when cloud accounting truly began to emerge.
Be the practice staff want to work for
Digital natives are driving the change in technology consumption in the workplace and 2017 marks an interesting milestone. This is the first year that gen Z will be settling into a full year of employment, with an even more evolved outlook for technology than millennials – highlighting the increased technology gap between the younger millennial and gen Z workers versus the gen X and boomer generations.
These are the accountants that want to use cloud-based automation to move beyond data entry tasks. Advanced, more intelligent technologies can produce more evolved and efficient outcomes. For example, the next generation of accountants may be less collaborative as an industry and instead be more competitive. Accountants may not charge for tax returns, instead opting to data mine client files to identify and act upon higher value advisory services.
How cloud can impact your future
Often, we have heard it is crucial to ‘begin with the end in mind’ for any exit strategy, however the advent of cloud has changed things.
With cloud comes the opportunity to consider your technology journey – after all it will benefit your clients now plus add value to your firm when it comes time to sell. Post-sale the implementation of innovative cloud accounting and associated business software solutions can further act as a tool to retain the team and the client base.
Having the right cloud accounting solutions for practice management and client compliance and advisory services can contribute to the overall valuation of the firm.
Younger clients are digital natives and they expect cloud automation benefits to deliver a different experience with their accountant. Younger staff – the most likely purchasers of today’s accounting firms – will also expect digital technologies in their work environment. If you don’t invest in cloud accounting and new options for intelligent accounting who are you going to be servicing and selling your firm to?
Building a cloud-based business is an elegant solution for a service driven world – open collaboration with clients and a system that puts clients at the core. With a cloud-based practice it is easier to train a lens on clients and their data. Cloud ecosystems can pool together packets of data to identify a correct treatment, process, income stream, or piece of advice that matters most to the client’s business.
The Intelligent Practice
To find out more about how to deliver for your staff and your future, read our industry insights on how to become an Intelligent Practice here.