Digital transformation strategy for modern accounting firms

Going through a pandemic made it clear how crucial it is for companies to be agile and resilient to change. The challenges of moving businesses online catapulted technology to the top of companies’ lists of priorities. 

Having a digital transformation strategy is key to succeeding in the modern business climate. Otherwise, you could risk losing customers to digitalised competitors. 

This guide will help you plan your digital transformation strategy by covering the following topics:

  • How digital transformation affects the accounting sector
  • Digital trends impacting accountants
  • Planning your digital transformation strategy
  • How Countingup can help

How digital transformation affects the accounting sector

Digital transformation offers accounting firms (and their clients) opportunities to work faster while spending less money. Technology empowers firms to do this while still meeting regulatory deadlines and providing the top-class customer service they need to stay competitive. 

In the modern business climate, constantly emerging technologies and trends mean that companies need staff that can master digital procedures. It’s important for accountants to know how to handle accounting software and other tools to keep up with ever-changing customer demands.

What are the digital trends impacting accountants?

Technology has changed the accounting profession as we know it. These days, customer service chatbots, cloud computing and digital banking are natural parts of our lives and new trends will come, too. We’ve listed a few accounting trends you should know about:

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI usage has boomed across the world, and the accounting sector is no exception. 

Chatbots are one of the most popular AI solutions in the accounting space. Firms use Chatbots to communicate with site visitors through automated messages asking them what they need. 

Customers can also ask questions about vendors, budgets, services, or other relevant topics. This is faster and easier than emailing or calling customer service, saving valuable time for both parties. 

You can also use AI to build custom reports tailored to each client, freeing up time for you to focus on nurturing existing customer relationships and onboarding new clients. 

Cloud computing

As cloud technologies develop, financial institutions are more comfortable using public cloud services and hybrid cloud models to store information. 

Before the cloud, accounting software was stored on desktops and ran from your computer’s hard drive. Traditional accounting software has limited access to data and needs constant updating to back up all the financial information. 

Using cloud computing for your accounting operations means your data is accessible to authorised staff via any internet-enabled device. Cloud computing allows accounting firms to adapt quickly, since they can securely access data from anywhere to provide more efficient service. 

Machine Learning

Machine Learning (ML) refers to systems that can learn and adapt without following explicit instructions. Instead, ML uses algorithms and statistical models to analyse and draw inferences from patterns in data.

Accountants can use ML to audit expense submissions, perform risk assessments and data analytics, removing the need for constant manual documentation. Without the need to carry out menial tasks, like categorising or clearing invoices, accountants have more time to focus on their clients.

Planning your digital transformation strategy

To create a digital transformation strategy that will serve your accounting firm best, we’ve listed the key points you need to consider below:

1) Evaluate your current situation

Understanding your specific needs and how you see your digital transformation playing out is key to finding the best solutions for your firm. Failing to understand where you need digital solutions could prevent you from achieving your desired outcomes.

The pandemic and your competitors transitioning to digital might spark a feeling of urgency. Still, it’s best to take the time you need to conduct a thorough audit of your firm to determine where you need digital transformation. It’ll increase your chances of reaching your goals.  

2) Enhance productivity and communication

Focus on building a digital transformation strategy that improves your firm’s internal productivity and communications speed. If you spend a lot of time communicating via email, it could take a big chunk out of your time without you realising. 

A digital solution like Slack or Microsoft Teams could improve communication within your firm (and with your clients) to boost productivity, saving time and money.

3) Use the same accounting software as your clients

To streamline your services and the communication between yourself and your clients, consider using the same accounting software as them. 

For example, if you use Countingup’s accountant hub and your clients have a Countingup business current account, you’ll always be connected. This means you get instant access to your client’s transaction data, tax estimates, invoices, and other financial information.

MTD-compatible, Countingup accounting software is full of features for you to efficiently review and manage your clients’ accounts, and prepare journals and taxes accurately and without unnecessary delay. It’s also free for accountants to use Countingup since the accounting software is built into your client’s business account. 

Your clients receive a great value business current account, and you save on accounting software costs while increasing efficiency. 

4) Create a plan

Another essential step to developing a digital transformation strategy for your firm is to have a plan from the get-go. Creating a digital infrastructure means your firm will find new ways of obtaining and handling information within the company. Therefore, you need a plan for managing any process changes that result from increasing your online presence. 

The more you digitise your processes, the more data you must deal with, increasing the need for robust digital solutions to process that data. It becomes a snowball effect, so make sure you prepare.

5) Create a technology-positive culture

Digital transformation becomes very challenging if your firm doesn’t have a culture that supports technology. You’ll introduce new ways of thinking about traditional issues, encouraging people to embrace change. 

Part of your digital transformation strategy should focus on creating a company culture where employees adopt new solutions with enthusiasm. Your team must embrace digital transformation for your plan to be successful.

Digital transformation will gradually take your accounting firm through different innovation phases, allowing you to become more efficient and competitive in the current market. So start planning your digital transformation strategy now to reap the benefits later.

Optimise your small business clients with Countingup

Save your practice time on manual admin and help your sole trader and self-employed clients keep organised records with Countingup’s free accounting software. Our software is MTD-compatible and full of features for accountants to review and manage client accounts efficiently, prepare journals and client taxes accurately with direct access to their real-time organised data. Find out More here.

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