As accounting professionals, we’ve all seen the influx of new technologies aimed at streamlining our work. While adopting innovation can feel daunting at times, the payoff in efficiency and insights is definitely worth it.
In this article, we will explore the key technological trends that are reshaping the accounting industry, and highlight their significance for accounting firms.
Key Technological Trends for Accounting Firms
Most of the trends discussed below are caused by the latest technological advancements in the industry. Take AI (Artificial Intelligence) as an example – this breakthrough technology revolutionizes each and every industry, and accounting is no exception.
Let’s examine these trends in detail.
Automating manual tasks for greater efficiency
To automate manual accounting tasks, businesses use accounting practice management software built with such technologies as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), AI, and Machine Learning (ML).
Typically, the most automated tasks are:
- data entry,
The goal is to free up specialists’ time with the help of advanced workflow management software for accountants to have more time for quality work — like strategic planning.
RPA tools use scripts to mimic human actions. For example, software bots can log into accounting systems, extract invoices, and input the data just as we would.
AI takes automation further by handling unstructured data and “learning” over time. It can classify expenses, detect duplicate invoices, and review documents for accuracy. With ML algorithms, the more data the AI processes, the smarter it gets.
To integrate automation, first identify your most repetitive, predictable processes, and start small. The key is not to replace your employees — but to free them from repetitive tasks that require little mental capacity or creative thinking RPA and AI handle the grunt work while humans focus on high-impact tasks.
Enabling secure remote collaboration with cloud computing
Cloud platforms have opened up new ways of remote collaboration. Take QuickBooks Online and Xero as an example — their dashboards let us securely access and share financial files anytime, anywhere.
With cloud adoption growing steadily, most accountants now use solutions like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 for daily remote coordination. Their suites integrate documents, email, video meetings, and more on a single platform.
For client collaborations, portals like SmartVault and SafeSend provide easy yet controlled access to shared documents. Built-in permissions allow for access management, e.g. read-only files or limited visibility of certain folders.
Your employees should implement cloud solutions responsibly to mitigate risks. Simple habits like avoiding public Wi-Fi for financial tasks and using strong unique passwords are important for mitigating risks.
Deriving powerful insights from data analytics
Data analytics is a fast-growing tech trend that unlocks valuable insights from the data we generate.
And accounting firms deal with vast amounts of data — this is why data analytics play a crucial role here. By using these tools, accountants can:
- extract meaningful information,
- identify patterns,
- make data-driven decisions
Analyzing past trends helps enormously with financial forecasting and modeling future scenarios. Identifying correlations in the data can flag high-risk transactions for auditing as well.
We can consolidate data from multiple sources like ERP systems, CRM software, invoices, and contracts with the right analytics solutions.
Expert tip – integrate analytics with everyday workflows instead of siloed analytics projects.
Strengthening data security and compliance
Every day, accounting businesses juggle tons of business-sensitive data, and if software solutions and different networks have access to them it’s important to make sure that the whole process is safe.
Whether it’s ransomware, DDoS attacks, or insider leaks, a breach can devastate client trust and a firm’s reputation.
Implementing robust cybersecurity protocols, encryption techniques, and regular data backups helps mitigate risks. Moreover, adherence to privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) ensures compliance and builds trust with clients.
Mobile accounting and on-the-go access
Mobile technology unlocks significant benefits for accounting professionals through on-the-go access. Leading mobile apps like QuickBooks allow us to view financials, approve invoices, and collaborate with clients from mobile devices.
Real-time visibility of cash flows and transactions enables quicker response when needed. Seamless coordination across the field and back office boosts productivity too.
Of course, mobile usage also warrants caution. Here are some options on how to make mobile accounting safer:
- require strong passwords or biometric logins on devices;
- enable remote wipe in case of theft;
- restrict access to sensitive apps and data based on user profiles.
By blending convenience with prudent controls, firms can capitalize on mobility.
Integrating systems for connected workflows
An emerging best practice is integrating accounting systems with other solutions to remove silos and fragmented workflows. The goal is to move from isolated software to interconnected ecosystems.
Linking to sales and inventory tools provides end-to-end visibility from orders to revenue recognition to cash collection. Tying CRM to accounting systems helps strengthen customer profitability insights.
For instance, integrating accounting software with a CRM platform like Salesforce at the same time enables:
- a seamless flow of financial data,
- customer information,
- sales transactions
Integration also eases data sharing across departments, from sales and finance to HR and operations.
We’ve mentioned some points on how to adopt each trend in particular, but how should you deal with all these changes at once?
The answer is — through adaptation and training.
Adaptation and training
Embracing technological changes requires adaptability and continuous training for accounting professionals. The industry is changing, and it’s important to keep a pulse on it.
Here’s a list of actionable advice on how to do this in such a dynamic environment:
- Foster a culture of learning and adaptability, encouraging employees to embrace innovation. This way, they are not stressed when a new tool of technology comes out, but rather eager to learn and explore new possibilities.
- Invest in ongoing training programs to upskill and reskill staff. Share this responsibility with all your workers and it won’t take long to see the results.
- Encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing within the firm to facilitate a smooth transition to new technologies.
- Stay connected with industry networks, attend conferences, and participate in webinars to gain insights and learn from peers and experts.
- Leverage online resources, such as digital courses, tutorials, and forums, to enhance knowledge and proficiency in emerging technologies.
With these easy 5 steps, you can always be sure you’re ahead of your competition in terms of the adoption of new technologies and tools.
The Way Forward
As fellow professionals, we know technological innovation in accounting is here to stay. The firms that will thrive are those that embrace changes proactively.
The key emerging trends to leverage are:
- cloud computing,
- data analytics,
- mobile accounting,
Combined effectively, they elevate the accounting industry to new heights of quality, insight, and client service.