A Digital World, A Digital Firm: Three Characteristics of a Forward-Thinking Accounting Firm
The digital world is not only here, but it’s continuing to evolve and impact all aspects of our lives – accounting included. Last month the CK team took a trip to Silicon Valley for the QuickBooks Connect conference and we were reminded just how much technology has impacted the way in which we serve our clients. Technology has changed the way accounting departments are structured, how they communicate and the actual production of financial reporting.
The way in which we utilize technology to expand consultative services to assist our clients is the criteria that will set a firm apart from a digital firm. Here are three characteristics that signify a digital, forward-thinking accounting firm:
We are in an application (app) driven world. What used to be a wholly encompassed accounting system has been replaced with various apps that drive efficiencies within specific functionalities such as bill payments, cash flow forecasting, payroll, and much more. Those apps then integrate into well-known accounting platforms such as QuickBooks, Xero, Sage or NetSuite thus pulling all key information into one spot. Sometimes information can be communicated and reported with just a single click, resulting in a more streamlined and robust accounting software that is customized for each user.
Bank information is also typically a click away through a connected application with the financial institution. Rules and smart lists are used to record transactions and the output is posted in the form of transactions which are incorporated into the general ledger details. Both in-house and outsourced accountants can maintain the apps, understand discrepancies and reconcile accounts through the accounting system features. Therefore, selecting an accountant or accounting firm that is skilled with apps is a necessity in the digital world.
The development and utilization of apps and cloud-based accounting platforms allow for users, accountants and other personnel to work remotely. Face-to-face meetings have been replaced with video conferences, e-mails and chat platforms. The ability to facilitate verbal and written communication using these new methods is vital to the success of an organization in the digital world. The ability to get your message across in concise, easy to understand ways is imperative and a skill that will never be replaced with the newest app.
Interpreters of Data
Investing in apps will reduce the time incurred on maintaining and recording detail transactions. This newly saved time can then be invested in enhanced financial reporting and data analysis. In other words, accountants are now utilized for more value-added services to research trends, project future operations, perform cash flow analysis and analyze cost saving initiatives. This allows departments to have more meaningful discussions, brainstorm and strategize for short and long-term planning. While there are various apps to assist in this regard, the real value is in the interpretation of the results that lead to significant business decisions. The opportunity to take on new investment opportunities that will strengthen your organization in the years ahead is invaluable and is not something that can be recommended by an app. It’s the true difference between a commodity-focused accountant and a forward-thinking, client-focused accountant.
Cray Kaiser continues to embrace the use of technology within the full suite of our clients’ accounting needs. We will continue to advise stakeholders with information that is one click away to allow them to manage and understand their financial data through apps and other tools. But we also remain steadfast in the ability to communicate, advise and offer best practices throughout the life cycle of your organization as you navigate the digital world.
We look forward to helping you leverage technology for the benefit of your organization. Please contact RBI member Cray Kaiser today to get started.