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How to embrace change and become a future-ready accounting firm

If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it was to prepare for the unpredictable. It’s safe to say that two years ago, there were very few businesses anticipating a global pandemic and even fewer had a response plan ready and waiting to be used. For the accounting sector, the pandemic highlighted the need for agility, resilience and the ability to embrace change.

While it’s still hard to plan for such an unpredictable event as a pandemic, it is possible to plan for future challenges and decide what you and your accounting practice can do to prepare.

Cloud accounting software

In this blog, we will discuss ways you can do to future-proof your accounting practice.

Cloud-based accounting is changing the game

A common trend in businesses that responded successfully to the pandemic was their use of technology, particularly cloud technology. Working in the cloud gave them the ability to work from anywhere, which meant employees could continue working without interruption and their relationships with their clients remained largely unaffected.

Cloud technology is not new to accountants. For years now, there has been online bookkeeping software, accounts production software, practice managements software and more. Embracing this technology, rolling it out to both clients and employees, and choosing the right tech stack for your practice is the challenge.

A clear strategy for cloud adoption can help practices optimise how you use cloud and ensure you keep it aligned with your goals. For example, can you leverage cloud to solve pain points for clients or increase your capacity to take on new clients? The benefits of cloud technology certainly seem worth it.

According to a recent study, firms can onboard 5 times more clients using a cloud accounting solution when compared to traditional firms. Cloud solutions are useful for developing stronger relationships with clients by improving communications and can also streamline key accounting processes, helping to free up time, allowing you to focus on more important tasks.

One small but effective way online software can help save you time, is when it comes to getting documents signed by clients. Surf Accounts Production’s electronic-signature feature allows you to send documents to clients online, leading to a faster and easier process to acquire signatures.

Adopt a technology-first mindset

The future of accounting lies in automating financial tasks. By embracing automation, you can focus less on manual data-entry tasks and more on offering a high level of service and value to your clients. This can help make sure your practice nurtures existing client relationships and develop opportunities with new businesses.

The opportunity to automate many time-consuming tasks is huge. Collecting receipts and invoices from clients is always a pain and can have more serious implications during tax season. By adding Dext Prepare to your tech stack, you can use data-extraction technology to extract information from receipts, invoices, and bank statements, and bring it all together in a standardised, digital format, which can be sent directly to your accounting software, such as Surf Accounts.

The bookkeeping and accounts production software you use, can also offer opportunities to automate even more tasks. Surf Accounts can automate the bank reconciliation process by connecting straight to your bank accounts, pulling through transactions instantly to allow you to quickly compare and verify numbers.

Understand your clients’ needs

As an accountant, understanding your clients’ needs and delivering high quality services to clients has always been important for future planning. To be a successful accountant and build long term relationship with clients, it is important to take a client centric approach. In recent years there has been an enhanced focus on providing business advisory services, and this is likely to become a bigger trend.

It’s likely your clients will require more expert financial advice from you, beyond the everyday accounting tasks. This comes back to understanding the needs of each one of your clients, and planning what areas you want your practice to specialise in.

To deliver on these new needs, it will require you to look at your employees and the current experience and skills available to you. Identifying the gaps and upskilling in these areas will allow you to adequately prepare for your clients’ future needs.

Get an edge on the competition with practice management skills

Developing a well-run practice is the dream. Imagine, everyone knows exactly what they are doing, when tasks are due, are ahead of schedule, and work is done as efficiently as possible. In reality, many practices are under pressure and work in a reactive and unorganised manner.

It is a fact that challenges will appear in the future that you don’t expect. However, having a practice that has optimised processes in place can help you survive such challenges and stand out from the competition. To achieve this, you should take stock of current workflows and identify where you can improve.

There are common problems experienced by all practices that can affect project outcomes and client expectations. How long will it take to onboard the new client? Do they feel taken care of? Who is being assigned the new workload? Have you correctly tracked the billable hours? Managing all of this is key to having a well-run practice.

Using a cloud-based practice management software such as AccountancyManager can be the perfect solution. The software is designed to aid efficient workflow, balance workloads, track billable time and send invoices. Investing in the software pays off by enhancing client relationship and increasing your firms’ productivity.

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Leveraging new technologies will help your firm to be future ready. By choosing the right tech stack, you can increase productivity, save time and improve your firms’ bottom line. If you’re interested in exploring Surf Accounts, Surf Accounts Production and Dext Prepare, book a free one to one demo.

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