Cloud accounting software has become central to improving how we work today. Here’s how it will transform the way accounting works in the future.
Using cloud accounting software to allow teams to work from anywhere, share files, collaborate easily, and manage client projects has become the standard way of working over the last 12 months.
But before 2020 many accounting firms had been slow to adopt flexible working and cloud collaboration.
This is shown in research we published just before COVID-19 in which 29% of finance workers said they were frustrated by the slow uptake of new technology at their firm. Now, the use of new technology, such as cloud accounting software, has become essential and has happened at rapid pace.
If you consider how the adoption of cloud accounting software has increased across accounting firms, it’s clear to see why it’s such an important tool and how it will reshape how firms and clients collaborate in the future.
Below, we outline five key examples of how we think cloud accounting software will shape the future of the accounting practice.
- Remote collaboration
Despite the end being in sight for Covid-19 restrictions, there will be no grand reopening of all offices. Many companies, including large multinationals have already stated they will continue to allow remote working for the foreseeable future.
Which means enabling teams to collaborate with each other from anywhere is a must.
Cloud accounting software solves this by creating a single location where client information can be stored, shared and accessed by anyone with the necessary authorisation.
All employees or clients need are secure login details and a WiFi enabled device, then they will be able to access and share information in real-time.
It also means clients don’t have to provide hard copies of their information. Documents can easily be scanned and imported into the software with a few clicks of a mouse button.
- Improved security
With teams and clients more spread out, making sure the sharing of sensitive or confidential information remains secure can become more difficult. But not with cloud software.
The information uploaded to a cloud platform can be setup in a manner that only allows access by people with the required permissions. Also, no information is actually sent between users, they access it in a single, central repository, so there’s less chance of any sensitive information being intercepted.
Plus, the cloud is naturally more secure than other forms of document sharing, such as email, and with AI beginning to play more of a part in cloud security in the future, that security is only going to improve.
- Better project management
Managing complex client accounts and projects was difficult enough when everyone worked in the same office - as employees continue to work from different locations, you need the right technology in place before managing client accounts becomes impossible.
With cloud-based projects, work is updated in real-time, so you always know that you’re working on the latest version of a document and that you aren’t going to overwrite someone else’s work.
The cloud also helps to create a reliable audit trail of who is working on a project, where the project is up to, and who was the last person to work on it.
If, in rare occasions where something goes wrong or a project falls behind, the cloud makes it much easier to identify problems quickly so you can work to resolve them swiftly and minimise any impact.
- Easily integrate your systems and processes
One assumption that many get wrong with the cloud, is that it is assumed a cloud accounting solution is a silver bullet to come in and replace everything that was there before.
While it will replace legacy systems that can slow down and get in the way of collaboration, the cloud can be easily adapted around your existing business procedures and processes. It should be seen as complementary to your existing setup, rather than a replacement.
If you have processes that work well, the cloud will simply add to them and remove any barriers that could be slowing you down.
This is particularly important as we look ahead to the next 12 months where firms will be looking for differentiation to attract new customers and new ways of working to attract the latest rising talent.
- Speed to deploy new accounting systems
Even without the challenges that Covid-19 has brought; the world of accounting moves fast. Every year there are regulations and rules being updated that you need to keep up with.
Putting changes in place to accommodate these rules can be time consuming. But with the cloud, it’s much easier to adapt or update your accounting system. This is because many cloud accounting software providers also take on the management of the software, and updates happen to reflect regulation changes or improvements are made to the functions/features of the software.
In a world where being fast paced and adaptable to change is critical, cloud accounting software is an ideal vehicle for your firm.
Looking ahead to the future of accounting
Sometimes the accounting industry is labelled as slow to adopt change and ‘set in its ways’ because that’s simply how things have always been done.
However, if there is one takeaway from the last year it’s that there has been a real emphasis on change and technology development that has sent accounting into overdrive.
Cloud accounting software has long been benefitting firms and in-house teams that chose to be the ‘early adopters’, now we’re starting to see everyone else realise the benefits and play catch up.
To find out more about how our cloud software can benefit your business, here.