Hearing about Covid is something we cannot seem to escape, especially as everyone has been impacted in some way, whether it be in a personal or professional capacity. We’re starting to see some normality resume as the Government goes ahead with the road map and the continued vaccine roll out.
Due to businesses needing to adapt as a result of the pandemic, clients’ expectations of their relationship with their accountants has shifted in line with the times. Such situations as the pandemic, along with an increased presence of cloud systems has prompted a rapid shift in focus towards a digital-first industry.
Many practices with legacy systems faced significant disruption in comparison to those who were open to ‘adopting the unknown’. From this, we learnt that partners must remove the fear of implementing an ‘unproven’ system, as this could be holding their practice back.
Will Cloud Software Help?
By implementing cloud systems, firms can disregard the worry for updates and maintenance, as well as removing much of the need for a team or individual to manage the software.
Using cloud based software also promotes collaboration between client and teams, providing a more efficient working environment, with users having the ability to work remotely, whilst accessing on their data in real-time.
In addition, there are many add-on offerings for cloud based systems, allowing for accountants to offer their customers a more valuable and streamlined service. By gaining a deeper understanding of a client’s businesses, relationships can be strengthened, thus offering long-term benefits to both parties.
It goes without saying that by implementing cloud technology comes great benefits. Removing much of the manual admin, collating data from clients and notifying of any looming deadlines allows much more time for accountants to be focussing on more strategic tasks, raising efficiency and potentially making room for more clients.
Intelligent automation can take away much of the system processing once consuming hours for accountants, taking control of notifying key stakeholders and ensuring all documentation is correct and where it should be. Not only does it reduce the time taken, it ensures there is less room for human error, picking up any issues that may arise relating to compliance standards or legislative changes.
During COVID-19, cloud-based software has enabled accountants to gain insight into business viability, owing to the ‘always-on’ data flow, collecting and storing data throughout the year. A feature particularly useful to auditors, should there be a need to remedy a situation mid-year.
With the use of an analytics add-on tool, businesses can take advantage of real-time cash-flow forecasting, something that is particularly useful during times of uncertainty such as a pandemic. By providing great visibility into companies’ accounts, accountants have more basis to accurately forecast future cash-flows and identify foresee any risks that may arise. By also having an inbuilt risk assessment, fraudulent or suspicious activity can be flagged early on, reducing further time for auditors.
The cloud has positively impacted businesses and clients are likely to expect a consultative approach going forward as they try to navigate through more challenging and unsteady economic times.
In order for practices to better position themselves against the competition, they need to look at the service they offer clients, and think about how they can go above and beyond for their clients and help their businesses become more successful.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been urged towards more frequent, digital communication methods, something clients will expect to continue in the ‘new normal’.
With the collaboration aspect of cloud technology, this saves further time for both accountant and client, giving them an opportunity to discuss matters safely and securely over the cloud. A great advantage too for an accountant as they do not need to go between several different clients in one day, offering up more time for work.
We must not forget however, that no matter how wonderful the cloud sounds, it is not a magical solution to solve all our problems – yet. Like everything, challenges will come to light along the way as the system continues to develop, although there is of course every reason to look forward to the future.
The cloud can potentially be seen as an all-in-one solution for firms to really focus on offering exceptional value to their clients whilst also growing their own business.
Find out how cloud-based technology can assist your practice in improving customer-accountant relationships and increase client satisfaction in our eBook ‘How to meet the shifting expectations of your clients’.
To download, click here