Nearly three quarters (73%) of accountants expect to be able to use data to drive decision making in the near future, according to research published on AccountancyAge.
And the vast majority (78%) told the same survey that they expect new technology to affect accounting and finance roles in a significant way.
It is not hard to see why so many in the industry expect technology and software to have such a big impact on their futures.
Mobile devices, remote access to office servers and cloud tools have already changed how many within the industry work – accounting is no longer just a desk job in the back office.
It is now much more about getting out to see clients and working “on the go”.
Auditors today are inundated with great swathes of information that they are expected to review, interpret and make sense of.
Being able to mine through these huge amounts of data to provide actionable insights is the best way auditors can boost efficiency and provide value to businesses; and allow for decisions to be driven by solid data, rather than hopes and hunches.
But with so much information to sift through, auditors must be able to take advantage of new technology available to them.
Analytics technology for instance allows them to analyse details of every transaction and is able to identify the relationship between data sets and parts of audit files.
Using this technology means auditors can more easily identify risk and raise issues of non-effective controls.
Increasing flexibility and collaboration
Flexibility and collaboration have become two of the buzzwords which surround any talk of technology. But as firms come under more pressure from clients, being flexible and collaborative has become extremely important.
Cloud computing has been one of the biggest drivers when it comes to promoting flexibility in the workplace, with its ability to allow employees to work from anywhere, from any device.
Within the accounting sphere, cloud computing has helped remove the headache of making central changes and enforcing them on a workforce – which takes time.
Given the unknown nature of tax and accounting rules it is easy to see why so many firms see the cloud as an essential part of any technology transformation project.
Improving workflow with dashboards
One of the biggest issues with improving workflows is being able to visualise data and information and display it in a usable format.
Dashboards have been one of the most beneficial business applications within accounting firms because they allow for complicated tasks or data to be displayed in a much simpler format.
Something as simple as splitting an audit into the different stages – from the planning, work and completion stages – can make the process much more efficient and also allows new or inexperienced users to complete these tasks with relative ease and minimal supervision.
Dashboards also make it possible for businesses to use accounting data more effectively by taking audit information and identifying areas of risk more easily than trying to scour through reams of spreadsheets.
The future of business is most certainly going to be driven by advances in technology, and accounting is no exception.
Technology has already impacted businesses and changed so many times that any firms or businesses only just looking to future proof their company are already starting from a losing position.
The need to understand new technology and how it can be used is vital for the modern accounting firm and failing to realise this could be a fatal error.
For more information on future proofing your accounting firm, download our “How to Digitally Future-Proof your Accounting Practice” eBook here