Today, people want flexibility and ease when working with accountants, which makes digital practices increasingly integral. If you aren’t comfortable with online systems, you won’t be as accessible or dependable to your clients. But if you wonder how to develop digital skills for accountants, you may be unsure where to start. 

This guide covers digital skills for accountants, including: 

  • Why do accountants need digital skills?
  • What kind of skills do you need to focus on?
  • How can Countingup help with making tax digital? 

Why do accountants need digital skills?

We live in a digital age, so it’s no surprise that digital skills are beneficial to nearly any business. When it comes to accountants, the UK Government has announced a Making Tax Digital (MTD) policy which aims to make it easier and more efficient to file taxes online. Aside from this, digital practices can promote accuracy to make sure small businesses pay the right amounts. 

This policy proves how critical it is for accountants to develop digital skills because most of their job is transitioning to the digital space. If you can carry out your data collection and tax filing online, it can make clients’ lives much easier. 

Plus, digital practices allow you to store and transport important financial data easily. Overall, these skills can streamline your process, taking a lot of the manual labour and data entry off your hands.

Even more, having digital skills can help you find and market yourself as an accountant. With these skills, your business can only improve because you’ll be able to work more efficiently and handle more clients.  

You can learn more about creating a digital transformation strategy for your accountant firm here.

What kind of skills do you need to focus on?

Once you understand why digital skills are crucial for accountants, you may wonder which skills to brush up on. We’ll cover a few of the most important ones. 

Digital spreadsheet skills 

To input data and keep clients records organised and accurate, you’ll need strong digital spreadsheet skills. You could build these skills using either Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheets. Either way, the tools will be essential to your success. These spreadsheet skills can help you maintain digital records for easier access and also backup physical ones in case they’re damaged or lost. 

Plus, with extensive knowledge of the systems, you’ll understand the expanse of tools that can streamline your processes. For example, spreadsheets allow you to perform automatic equations within the spreadsheet. 

By typing in the equations, the spreadsheet will calculate the answers instantly. This tool can speed up your maths, improve your accuracy, and help you spot errors along the way. Then, formatting tools can organise the data to easily find what you need when you need it. On top of this, spreadsheets allow you to look up, filter, and sort data for detailed results. 

So, spreadsheets are enormously helpful to your accountancy practice. If you’d like to learn more about how to use them, It’s easy to do. Start by looking for YouTube videos that explain the basics and essential tools. Then, if you want a more in-depth education, you can look for courses like Udemy’s or LinkedIn’s

Modern accounting software and systems

Aside from digital spreadsheet skills, you’ll need knowledge of information systems and software to strengthen your services for clients. With the right accounting software, you can organise financial data and easily create the necessary documents and statements for clients. Creating these statements digitally using accounting software will take you a fraction of the time it would to do so manually.  

For example, Countingup’s free accounting software helps you easily manage your sole trader and self-employed clients’ data. The tools improve both you and your clients experience and add to your reliability. Plus, the system is easy to learn how to use, adding to your digital skills with little effort from you. 

MTD knowledge  

The MTD policies mean that tax filing is transitioning to digital spaces, so accountants need to understand these practices. Some clients may voluntarily join the MTD service. But VAT-registered businesses must follow the MTD rules, which means they have to keep digital records of their business finances. 

Eventually, VAT-registered businesses with turnover below £85,000 will have to do this as well. So, if you do accountancy for businesses that fall into the requirements, you must understand how to transition to digital processes. 

You can learn more about Making Tax Digital and how to sign up clients for it here.  

MTD knowledge is critical for accountants not only because of the policy, but also because it helps you remain compliant and maintain accurate and backed up records. As a result, you can do your work efficiently so taxpayers will pay the right amount.  

Digital marketing 

Marketing is another essential digital skill for accountants because it can help you grow your client base. By developing a digital marketing strategy and allocating a budget, you can increase your audience using the massive audience of the internet. 

For example, you could develop a mobile-friendly business website if you don’t have one already. Or you could benefit from social media marketing efforts. Aside from that, you could create a monthly email newsletter for your practice.  

Understanding how to make these marketing materials and follow through on these efforts efficiently can help you grow your practice. It also makes your services more accessible to people looking for accountants. 

To learn more about these things, you may want to look at some of our guides, including:

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