Digital transformation refers to the adoption of digital technologies by a company to encourage innovation, improve efficiency, or increase customer satisfaction. An accounting firm might attempt a digital transformation through the use of digital accounting solutions that help them communicate with clients, or to generate helpful data for financial reporting.
However, not all digital solutions are helpful to accountants. There are some technologies that will likely have little impact on future financial trends, or at least do not require an immediate investment. In this guide, we’ll list must-have technologies for your firm so you know what’s worth your time.
Accounting traditionally involves a lot of data input. Accountants might spend hours moving financial information between spreadsheets or keying values from client documents into a tax return. While these sorts of tasks are necessary for error-free bookkeeping, they definitely don’t need to be done manually.
If you’re hoping to undergo a digital transformation in 2023, automating any repetitive, time-consuming tasks should be a priority. To automate data entry, look for tools that have features such as receipt scanning, or that allow users to file expenses into set categories.
Introducing your clients to these tools means you can spend less time on manual bookkeeping and more time on providing the financial advice and assistance they’re looking for.
Storing information on the cloud is a concept that’s been around for decades, but there’s been a recent surge in commercial cloud storage tools. Many are targeted specifically at accounting firms, offering benefits such as increased security for client information and customisable search categories.
The primary benefit of cloud storage is its digital nature. Information on the cloud is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection — this makes sending and receiving information from clients much easier. Additionally, even non-specialised cloud storage tools like Google Drive offer straightforward categorisation systems, making finding the right document much faster.
Make no mistake — the idea of a digitally-native currency isn’t something that’s going away quickly. The recent interest in cryptocurrency, however, isn’t something that you should drop everything to accommodate for.
The technologies behind cryptocurrency (e.g. blockchain, cryptography, digital assets) have significant value in a number of industries. As such, it’s a smart business move to keep an eye on these concepts, as digital assets will likely show up on your client’s portfolios within the next decade.
However, the current cryptocurrency market is wildly unpredictable and hugely unregulated. Of the thousands of cryptocurrencies currently available, very few will hold their value over the next few years. Additionally, the lack of regulations makes it difficult to properly categorise cryptocurrency within financial documents. As such, there’s little point in taking the time to offer cryptocurrency-centric accounting services at the moment.
As with cryptocurrencies, the metaverse involves concepts that are likely to become commonplace within the next decade. Digital transactions and remote meetings are already an essential part of modern business, so combining those ideas with the virtual world of the metaverse doesn’t seem that far-fetched.
However, the issue with the metaverse is that it’s very speculative and very poorly defined. The virtual world advertised by Meta and other tech giants is a great idea, but it’ll take a huge collaborative effort to make it a reality.
While there are digital worlds being created (and digital assets being bought and sold for real money) , the accounting opportunities are few and require significant specialist knowledge. So for most accounting firms, metaverse business opportunities should be low on your priority list.