Information technology has transformed accountancy rather dramatically for the better over the past decade. It is a rarity to see an accountant in 2016 doing ‘manual accounting’ with physical pens and paper. Accounting has come leaps and bounds in most recent years, some firms such as Farnell Clarke, accountants in Norwich, being 100% paperless, with complete integration of their workload and backlog on the cloud.
Cloud computing and hence gradually cloud accounting
Paperless accounting undoubtedly has its environmental benefits, but it also has its productivity merits too. Cloud computing is one of the most significant developments in IT in the past 10 years, and consequently for the accounting sector. Businesses can now have a clear overview of their current financial situation, in real-time. What is more, having the multi-user functionality means it is easy to collaborate online with the team and clients.
Traditional data entry is soon to be a thing of the past. Optical character recognition means that the compute can do the close reading so accountants do not have to. This can clear up more space for client communication and other more strategic tasks like reporting and analysis. More importantly, OCR technology means that accountants will no longer have to deal with manually entering receipt information. OCR can upload the receipts into online accounting platforms, identifying the relevant text and data in the meantime. Receipt Bank, Expensify, and Hubdoc can all be integrated with this. This technology will be revolutionary in 2016 as it will now take even less time to process documents.
Mobile accounting and apps
Smartphone technology has progressed in order to allow small businesses to take photos of their receipts on their phone, and allow the photo to feed into their tax return on specific apps. (FreeAgent for example) Plus, technology means accountants can work from anywhere at any time. Consequently, accountants can cut down on overhead costs, and have fewer physical offices. This complete flexibility means you can hire the most qualified people for the job, no matter where in the world they are. In addition, being able to do all accounting remotely means location is no longer critical, establishing more global accounting partnerships.
Back when all bookkeeping was stored on paper and in ring binders, security was hardly tight. With online and computer identifications and passwords, confidential information is kept confidential. Using various software online and offline, accounting information is encrypted to prevent unauthorized use and sharing of personal business information.
All technological advances in accountancy come with their own risks. Putting on intangible spaces online means the owner of all this data has lost possession of their information to some extent. Even with passwords and identification systems in place, data is still not tangible and under threat if any hackers get into the database. Even losing a laptop or computer or having it stolen can result in a whole load of data being misplaced, in some cases beyond retrieving
All in all, technology has changed the lives of accountants everywhere, and is changing for the better each and every year.