There is no sector more shaped and improved by IT developments than accountancy. From the thick ledgers of old, with paper receipts and a calculator, we are now in the world of the cloud with software that covers all four areas of accounting. Charting the route to the best IT solutions for accountants now focuses on three key areas: administration of the accounts; the security of information and communication with clients.
Administration of accounts
Business software has streamlined the process of completing accounts. Accounting software now integrates basic income/ outgoings data with staffing and taxation. The filing of a tax return is no longer a yearly chore. Not only is all data interconnected within a company, as it is also possible to synchronise these software packages with bank information. This streamlines the balancing of accounts.
The software has evolved the role of the accountant from administrator to problem solver. Most calculations are processed in real-time with software sync; therefore, the accountant is left with the time to troubleshoot and resolve anomalies.
The evolution of the digital signature has also improved the efficiency of the work of the accountant. It is now possible to send an email to a client requesting the signature. This saves time in printing, signing and scanning, which could take a chunk of administration time to process.
Cloud technology allows accountants instant access to the data required to complete a set of business accounts. Where it was once necessary for the accountant to be a permanent member of the team or to visit the company for annual audits, now everything can be done remotely.
It is not so much that accountants can now communicate effectively, as this has always been possible. The IT solutions available today allow real-time update of transactions and the presentation of valuable financial data is instantly available for the client to review.
You could argue that the evolution of IT systems has challenged the world of accountants. Many small businesses feel much more empowered by technology to run the accounts in-house. However, cybersecurity and the fear of online fraud is an opening into which accountants can move. Many companies have identified potential data breaches as a substantial risk, not only financially but also reputationally.
The temptation for accountants may be to keep all data on a physical desktop and a closed network. However, this means all the possibilities of real-time accountancy and automatic syncing of data is lost. Ironically, the information is also likely to be more secure if housed in the cloud. The advanced security protection offered by most cloud service providers outstrips anything your IT department could implement on your standalone.
In the cloud, the data remains safe from potential encroachment but also isolated disasters. The data is stored in multiple locations, so if one server is disrupted, the information is still available.
However, accountants need to train staff to sift through potential threats and mitigates these. Phishing, spam, and other as yet imagined attempts to hijack accounts will bypass any security system, no matter how sophisticated. Therefore, working with a professional IT company to set up policies and procedures and then disseminate these to staff will protect accountants from a potentially devastating impact on business.
For further information on the IT support and IT services we provide for accountants, get in touch with our team today.