Can Your Accounting Firm Profit from Augmented and Virtual Reality?
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) might sound like futuristic concepts, but the truth is they already exist. Top 100 companies have been heavily investing in these technologies for years, and many of them are already seeing gains – think Niantic with Pokémon Go. But the gaming industry isn’t the only one with potential to leverage from AR and VR. With this booming tech becoming more accessible and easier to implement, it’s worth your time to consider what your firm could do with them. Demand for AR and VR has already started to offset another challenge: users’ will to adopt new technologies. Research has proven that many people – Millennials and Generation Z in particular – trust the tech and are willing to try it.
Let’s review the features of AR and VR, starting with virtual reality. VR surrounds the user with a fictitious world and provides new ways to perceive information. In this example, Mercedes Benz offers a view of riding along Pacific Coast Highway in the newest SL model, helping prospective customers imagine traveling to a beautiful destination in luxury and comfort.
Augmented reality, on the other hand, “superimpose[es] digital information over a user’s existing environment,” according to a piece by Forbes. AR offers the opportunity to direct people to your office and turn them into customers. After all, we know people are more likely to make a purchase when they’re already in the store. When applied to marketing, AR can be used to drive brand awareness and increase engagement. You can lay the groundwork for implementing AR by focusing on your visual content, like 3D animations, videos and apps.
Augmented reality is a natural fit for accounting firms, helping users track information about something and making relevant data obvious. Experimenting with AR could help your firm stand out from the rest and put it ahead of the curve, especially if you’re one of the first to do so successfully. Both AR and VR offer enhanced ways to connect remotely. By providing context to each user’s setting and allowing for realistic collaboration, AR and VR become better ways to communicate with clients, partners, and prospects.
Augmented reality is more versatile and can be used by more industries than VR. On a broad scale, you can use AR to streamline accounting and auditing processes, put a fresh spin on your products and services, and boost productivity. AR’s ability to automatically record data improves accuracy and reduces the time employees spend fixing document errors, which frees them up to move on to other activities.
If you’re thinking about leveraging from AR at your firm, figure out how it can help with certain jobs. Just answer these two questions posed by Deloitte: “What do I need to know to accomplish this job successfully? Where, and how often, do judgment and intuition come into play in this job (variability of task)?” According to Deloitte, “AR can begin to enable workers to accomplish new tasks or address old tasks in new ways.”
If you decide to incorporate AR, explain your reasons and your objectives to your staff. Getting buy-in will help with the next step: building a culture that values innovation, experimentation, and problem-solving. With employees who understand your logic and don’t fear failure, you’ll find out how AR can benefit your firm and turn a profit. Make sure you have a support team ready to handle problems that crop up. As Deloitte puts it, “… companies electing to try to reap the large rewards of such a massive transformation need a workforce that is ready for the inevitable hiccups and [is] motivated by the sheer challenge of exploring new ground.”
You have nothing to lose by experimenting with this technology now. You’d be early to the game and have a chance to get comfortable with it before there’s any pressure to execute. With the market segment for AR and VR projected to reach $571.42 billion by 2025, you can be confident it’s a good long-term investment. The way technology’s going, your firm needs to get comfortable developing human-machine relationships – your competition already is.