The Road to Digital Transformation for Today’s Accounting Firms

October 27, 2020  |  Practice Management, Technology, Accounting

Even before the global coronavirus pandemic fast-tracked the transition to remote work, accountants were beginning to embrace digital transformation.

In a survey of more than 500 accounting and finance professionals conducted by Dimension Research prior to the virus’ outbreak, 99.7% of respondents said technology had a positive impact on the accounting profession. Meanwhile, 99% voiced their belief that even greater changes would take place over the next 10 years. The events of the past six months, however, have dramatically accelerated the trends that were already underway.

How remote work impacted accounting firms

For accounting firms, the rapid shift to working from home created a number of new challenges. Your firm’s partners and staff likely needed access to client data, documents, collaboration tools and other applications while away from their offices. Your clients in all likelihood required secure methods of sharing information, signing documents and paying invoices — without leaving their own homes. And, your firm needed to help your team work efficiently in the “new normal” by providing structured workflows, consistent scheduling and effective time tracking.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic caused short-term upheaval for many accounting firms, it also made crystal clear the numerous benefits of adopting cloud technologies. And, firms that capitalize on the opportunities for change that this time has created will experience long-term benefits. They’ll emerge with a firm foundation for success in a technology-driven future, with more efficient operations, a more productive staff and happier clients.

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Adapt, Evolve and Thrive: Capturing the Benefits of Digital Transformation

Until now, many small businesses — including accounting firms — have delayed digital business initiatives. Some have done so because legacy manual workflows are comfortable and familiar. Others believe cloud solutions are too complex or expensive for businesses of their size. Many also fear they may not be able to meet data privacy or compliance requirements from the cloud. This mindset has hobbled their ability to innovate, tying accountants to their desks and leaving firms mired in paperwork and outdated processes.

Firms can no longer afford to wait to modernize

The current circumstances have rendered such delays untenable. As an accountant or an accounting firm, your business simply must undertake digital transformation and adopt cloud tools in order to continue to function in remote work environments. As a result, accounting firms will become more nimble, as they ready themselves for the future.

Leaders are discovering the applications that make working from home possible also make information flows more streamlined. They’re realizing cloud-based collaboration tools can save employees time, bolster communications and improve client relationships. And they’re exploring the possibilities that the cloud opens up, including new analytics solutions, seamless interfaces with clients’ preferred accounting software, greater scalability and reduced hardware costs.

Digital transformation will make your firm more successful

Here are a few ways your accounting firm stands to win as you embrace digital transformation:

Enhanced security

Cloud-native solutions such as OfficeTools Cloud were purpose-built to provide a dynamic foundation for the ‘new normal’ and created specifically to accelerate business transformation. They are designed specifically with compliance needs of small- to mid-sized accounting firms in mind. These software applications also integrate built-in data protection and security features that are difficult to replicate when you’re relying on in-office hardware.

Round-the-cloud monitoring, automatic software updates and integrated anti-virus, anti-ransomware and anti-malware protection is incorporated right into the platform. Its geographically distributed data centers also guard against accidental data loss.

Intelligent use of technology

With advanced practice management software, your accounting firm can easily track time, project status and staff performance. This provides a means of translating raw data into insights that will allow your firm to cut costs, find new revenue streams, improve efficiency and streamline operations.

Improved recruitment and retention of staff

The majority of today’s employees prefer to work from home at least some of the time; this is particularly true of those with advanced degrees or professional education. Cloud solutions empower your firm to recruit diverse talent regardless of geographical location, to provide busy employees with the flexibility they need to maintain a healthy work-life balance and to automate tedious administrative tasks — keeping talented professionals’ focus on meaningful work.

Happier clients

Consumers increasingly expect their accountants — like all businesses they buy from — to be highly available at all times of day and night, and to offer services across multiple digital channels. Cloud-based accounting practice management solutions make it easy for your firm to offer web-based client portals or mobile apps. These tools allow clients to pay invoices, share information and documents securely and complete e-signatures on forms quickly and conveniently.

Interested in learning more about how your accounting firm can capture the cloud advantage? Check out our latest white paper, Future in Focus: The Road to Digital Transformation for Legal and Accounting Firms.

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