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How technology is shaping the accounting industry

The past few years have seen business technology and systems develop at an exponential rate. The accounting industry, specifically, has harnessed this technology to grow in leaps and  bounds. Remote assistance and automation have opened a new world for industry professionals seeking to grow their firms virtually and allowing them to serve more clients in less time than before.

This scenario has compelled the small business accountant to evolve beyond number crunching and source document capturing to the role of a full service business advisor, who is able to share reporting in real time and give business owners greater visual insight into their cash flow.

Data driven analytics provide the business owner with previously unimagined insight and drastically increased decision-making abilities, enabling them to pivot and focus on areas of concern with greater efficiency than ever before. The 4IR landscape is bursting with opportunity and allows for a symbiotic relationship between client and accountant to drive business growth further than ever before.

Jono Williams, Sales Manager at EasyBiz Technologies says, as with life, not all business needs are the same.  “Some require nuanced software to work to the best of their abilities. Third party applications are therefore the limbs of accounting software in the sense that where the software is at the heart of solid financial bookkeeping, third party apps assist in aspects that are specific to a particular business niche and might not be found in the core functions.”

Third party apps have given consumers a way to keep their bookkeeping processes intact without having to resort to inferior products or an unstable mix of software platforms to achieve uniformity. “For example, a business that needs to account for the entire manufacturing process, does not necessarily need to invest in a much larger accounting product; it could simply bolt on an app to its core product. Apps provide seamless data sharing across multitudes of platforms and data sources in one place – your accounting software profile,” adds Williams.

Accounting software such as QuickBooks Online has come a long way since its inception a few years ago and is constantly at the forefront of technological advancements and new developments in the accounting industry. With most of the world moving to cloud-based systems, data security is important, especially in the financial services sector. As a result, the software’s developments include two-step authentication to keep data secure. The software has made advances in integration with banking institutions, providing clients with an up-to-date live feed of transactions. The live feed has given clients the ability to automate much of the bank reconciliation process, making the former time-intensive exercise a few clicks away from being complete each day.

Looking ahead, there are a host of features and system improvements on the cards for the new year – existing users will be the first to experience these features as they are released. One recent update worth mentioning is the cash flow planner, which was released recently. It   gives the business owner insight into the future of the business by analysing the trends of the company’s financial history.

Williams says EasyBiz Technologies has witnessed a major shift in how businesses interact with their clients. “They are also finding new ways to deal with potential suppliers and investment partners. The age of sharing and transparency is upon us, so as a business owner, you should expect your clients to ask more of you as a business. In the same way, you should be asking more of your accountant.”

With the current rate of technological advancement, he suggests that businesses look for ways to get paid faster and ensure clients have the best possible experience when dealing with them, such as, system automated personalised contact features, which help professionalise operations as they grow.”

In today’s digital era, it is critical for businesses to have an online presence and to be able to serve their clients remotely. A cloud-based practice is specifically designed to help accountants meet the expectations and needs of their clients.

“While not everyone has embraced the move to online, there has been a massive surge in accounting practices migrating their firms and clients to the cloud, further cementing the industry’s role as a pillar for small business success. Those who stand by idly as the world turns a new leaf in the way it handles our business, will surely be left behind,” concludes Williams.

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Where a party receives any personal information (“PI”) related to the other party, the party who receives the PI, will comply with and have adequate measures in place to ensure that its employees, agents, subsidiaries and representatives comply with the provisions and obligations contained in the Protection of Personal Information Act, No. 4 of 2013. Any PI pertaining to one party which is required by the other party, will only be used by that other party for the purposes of this contract and will not be further processed or disclosed without the written consent of the latter and the recipient of that PI will take all reasonable precautions to preserve the integrity and prevent any corruption or loss, damage or destruction of the PI. If and when the contract is terminated, each party will, save to the extent that it is required to do otherwise by any applicable law, erase or cause to be erased, all PI and all copies of any part of the PI relating to the other party”.