Accountancy processes are set to be fully automated in the next five years, according to 60% of Association of Accounting Technician members.
Among those predicting an entirely technology-based future for the profession, 89% think this is the correct path and will be a positive thing for the industry.
Technology undoubtedly has a big role to play - and already does - in the accountancy arena, but like any business transformation project, there is a need to find the right balance between introducing technology which will benefit a business and hindering your workforce with systems which are difficult to implement and manage.
But with so much technology on the market and so many solutions available to the accountancy sector, which ones are likely to provide the biggest impact and offer the most beneficial outcomes?
Perhaps the biggest advantage of automation in accounting is its ability to speed up labour intensive processes and provide greater visibility of data entry, management and storage than manual processes.
For instance, rather than documents being duplicated and stored manually, they can be simply scanned and the relevant information - like invoice detail - instantly captured processed and analysed, with any discrepancies or exceptions highlighted immediately.
With so much of accountancy being taken up by manual processes, the introduction of automation has completely changed how the industry works allowing firms to focus on more advisory services.
As automation has streamlined the ability of accounting departments or consultants to more quickly process documents and data, the Cloud has made the storage and management of that data far easier and cost effective.
The CaseWare Cloud solution for instance offers a comprehensive engagement and practice management solution, which allows the easy add on of apps and features to improve practice efficiency.
Coupled with a secure portal - essential in this post GDPR world - the Cloud offers a safe and secure platform to work.
Managers can easily raise issues or tasks, track WIP and monitor engagement activity and deliverables against due dates, all in a platform which can be easily scaled to deal with differing or cyclical levels of demand.
Mobile has become an essential part of any business and accounting is no exception, with workers now requiring the ability to access up-to-date client information and sync to work files no matter where they are.
It is also vital that teams are able to collaborate on client documents without having to remain at their desks all day as it is easy for teams to lose momentum if they spend hours at a time waiting for other team members to come back to the office.
Platforms like our SmartSync system can enable teams in different locations to sync and update their work via the cloud, without the need to be online 24/7.
Allowing teams to work in this way boosts productivity immensely as individual members can review local copies of a client file in real-time, with the confidence that data is synced automatically in the background.
Data plays a fundamental role in accounting and being able to extract, import and transport this information easily is now a complete necessity for modern accounting firms.
By building in validations and pre-defined tests, teams can use data analytics to quickly identify risks, errors and areas of concern thereby enabling them to tailor the work more efficiently.
Data analysis also provides add value to clients allowing firms to present a more transparent and visual overview of information and by enabling teams to automatically produce reports for comparison, drill down further into data to identify trends for use in future efficiency drives and planning.