2022 Technology Trends for The Accounting Industry

millions of people quitting their jobs or leaving the workforce entirely. Such occurrences will increase robotic process automation (RPA) to include more efficient automation for critical functions such as payroll, purchases, invoices and payments.

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technologies

Although cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies have been around for a while, they are still difficult for most to figure out. However, there is an increased uptake of these technologies. Some countries already have allowed cryptocurrency as a legal transaction currency. As this trend continues to grow, accountants and auditors are tasked to understand these technologies so that they can offer sophisticated service to their firms or clients who invest in cryptocurrencies.

In other areas, blockchain technologies will continue being utilized in validation services such as audit and risk analysis, and balancing and sustaining accounting records.

Advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning 

According to a CNBC TEC survey, 90 percent of executives surveyed agreed that machine learning is critical for companies in 2022, with 20 percent saying they would be willing to invest money in this technology.

There will be more adoption of sophisticated AI solutions that offer better insights, help make data-driven decisions, and carry out basic tasks that take up a lot of an accountant’s time.

Machine learning will be used to develop algorithms that learn patterns in accounting tasks to help reduce mistakes early and avoid wasting time looking for errors. It also will be useful for audits and predictive analytics to forecast future trends.

Although AI and ML may not work well in areas that require creativity and intuition, they can help aid decision-making.

Data Security

All the advanced technologies mentioned above offer promising benefits. However, they also present a new problem in data security. For instance, remote accounting adds a vulnerability that allows cybercriminals to gain access to a company network. Considering that the accounting department holds crucial financial data that attackers target, security is critical for any business.

With cybercriminals using advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, it is now more important than ever to harden access to corporate data. Therefore, there will be more defensive cybersecurity services to handle the rise in security issues that come with technology growth.

Conclusion 

As we forge ahead in the new year, one thing is certain: Technology will continue to be a main driver in the accounting industry. This creates a need for upskilling to evolve with new accounting roles. It also helps to be conversant with technologies that will help meet client demands. 

Considerations When Automating Accounts Payables

Why you should automate your accounts payables

late payments cost small businesses $3 trillion per year, which means your late payments create a domino effect. Your business will also be subjected to late payment fines.

To avoid the challenges mentioned above, you should automate the accounts payable process.

Accounts Payable Automation 

Automation removes slow and repetitive manual tasks and lets you digitally submit and approve purchase orders and invoices.

However, when making any investment, businesses are more concerned about the return on investment (RIO). Rest assured that through automation, you can achieve ROI through reduced employment costs, fewer late fees, savings on invoice processing costs, and reduced losses caused by errors, among other non-financial benefits.

Following are the benefits achieved by streamlining the accounts payable workflow through automation:

  1. Get a more accurate picture of your finances – using automation software gives you access to reporting capability that makes it is easy to get a quick overview of business spending.
  2. Have a better command over cash flow – manage cash better with the help of reports that can be created and reviewed in real-time, which improves AP team visibility and forecasting. Automation will help in invoice prioritization as well.
  3. Improve user productivity – employees do not have to waste time sorting documents. With the data centrally stored, employees only need to run a query to find the necessary invoice or purchase order.
  4. Enable remote work – using cloud-based software makes remote access possible and enables approvals to be done remotely.
  5. Auditing is easy – all data is stored in a central database and can be easily accessed.
  6. Cost-effective – it enables timely payments and helps avoid unnecessary penalties and interest fees.
  7. Reduce overhead staff costs – automation will help reduce the accounts payable team, with no need to hire more staff even when a business grows.
  8. Dashboard and analytics tools – allow access to separate dashboards for the team and approvers, each using individual login credentials. At the same time, analytics gives a quick overview of the whole process.
  9. No manual data entry – scan documents to capture data and avoid manual data entry.
  10. Standardized accounts payable workflow – ensures consistency even if your business has different teams responsible for handling the invoicing data.
  11. Payment reminders – set your system to have reminders when pay dates are near. This will help avoid late or forgotten payments.
  12. Qualify for discounts – with a smooth workflow, the accounts payable cycle will require less time, and you may qualify for discounts from suppliers for early payments.

Conclusion 

A disorganized accounts payable process can run your business down. Choosing the right AP automation software will help improve accuracy, efficiency, quality and speed for your business accounts payable function. Your business also will have a balance between a healthy cash flow and, at the same time, maintaining a good supplier relationship.

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Technology Driven Accounting: How to Prepare Staff for a New Age in Accounting

CPA evolution. This is aimed at incorporating changing skills and competencies in the accounting field. As a result, this will include a new curriculum and new CPA exams expected to be launched in 2024.

Despite the disruption in the accounting field by technology, it has introduced many new opportunities. Consider this: while automation takes care of repetitive tasks, the accountant can devote more time to planning, organizing, and advising. This enables the accountant to add more value to an organization as they focus on major tasks.

However, this advantage will benefit only those who are well prepared in advance and ready for the new form that accounting is taking.

How to Prepare Your Staff for a New Age in Accounting

Change is not always welcome, but preparing your staff in advance will help ensure a smooth transition. Here is how to prepare your staff:

  • Communicate
    Let your employees know the intended changes in roles as well as new technologies that you plan to implement. Employees also can play a role in selecting technologies best suited to your business operations.
  • Mindset Shift
    Help employees accept the technological changes. They need to shift their mindset and accept the changing digital landscape. This will help with expediency and the ability to take advantage of its benefits.
  • Upskilling and Reskilling
    Give employees a chance to enhance their abilities. They also should learn new things to ensure they have relevant skills to continue working in advanced areas of accounting that require innovation, critical thinking, decision making, etc. Where necessary, they could learn basic programming and even basic automation for more advanced roles like data analysis. Gaining new skills will help your business transition from old systems to new ones, without necessarily hiring new staff.
  • Soft Skills
    Accountants now more than ever need to learn non-technical skills so that they can easily interact with people. If they are expected to take up advisory roles, they should be good at problem-solving, communication, relationship skills, business acumen, etc.
  • Emerging Business Models
    Let your staff be aware of new business models, such as microservices, marketplace platforms, and do-it-yourself models. This especially affects accounting firms whose employees need to be creative on how to leverage these models.
  • Positive Culture
    Develop a culture that enables staff to compete at a new level to keep their morale up so they are not worried about losing their jobs.
  • Stay Updated
    Keep everyone up-to-date with trends even when you don’t intend to implement every new technology that comes up. It helps to stay in the loop of what’s happening in the accounting field.

Keeping up with evolving accounting trends and changes will save you from losing clients. Preparing your staff for the new age of accounting will help your business provide value beyond traditional accounting to your clients. This is because you will be serving as business consultants and strategic partners as opposed to simply accounting experts.

Audits in Accounting: Improving Audit Quality with Data Analytics

AICPA introduced data standards to be used for data requests and to ensure production of standard reports from the ERP systems.

Another challenge is the integrity of data fed into the analytics systems, as this determines the quality of the end results. Systems used should be designed around collecting meaningful data. Auditors must also ensure that the conclusions fed into the systems are accurate and correct.  

Although data analytics reduces the sampling risk, it introduces the challenge of getting numerous exceptions, mostly referred to as outliers, that produce results outside audit expectations. This calls for auditors to investigate the exceptions/outliers to determine if they are errors or misstatements.

Conclusion

Integrating data analytics into the audit process greatly improves audit quality and credibility. With rapid advancements in technology, the capabilities of data analytics will continue to evolve, making auditing work even more efficient while maintaining high quality.

Although the adoption of data analytics is dependent on the size of a business, availability of skilled staff is also crucial. To remain relevant in a fast-changing environment, auditors need to advance their skills to effectively use the data analytics tools.

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How Cloud Accounting Helps Small Businesses Gain Competitive Edge

Cloud AccountingIn a continuously changing business environment, small businesses have a challenge to keep up. It’s especially expensive to keep pace with ever changing technology. Luckily, with affordable cloud accounting solutions, small businesses can maintain a competitive edge.

What is Cloud Accounting

Cloud accounting involves moving your business books online. Unlike desktop accounting systems, cloud accounting permits you to access accounting software from a web browser without the need to install it on your personal computer.

Companies that offer cloud computing provide their services on remote servers and applications. For a fee, you gain remote access to the services that fit your business needs.

Cloud Accounting Benefits for a Small Business

Here are benefits offered by cloud accounting that enable small businesses to gain a competitive edge:

  • No need to invest in expensive software and hardware
    With cloud accounting, you need only subscribe to a company offering cloud accounting services. This removes the need to purchase the actual software and necessary hardware. It also means there are no extra costs for maintenance, allowing a business to focus on core business activities. 
  • Save on upgrade costs
    Software keeps changing and needs frequent patches and upgrades. This is expensive for a small business running a traditional accounting software, and most end up using outdated software.

    Subscribing to cloud accounting means the service provider takes care of the upgrades, and you have access to new features instantly.

  • No need to hire an in-house accountant or bookkeeper
    If your business is small and running on a tight budget, subscribing to a cloud accounting solution will save you the cost of hiring a person for manual accounting and other bookkeeping processes. By connecting the system with your bank account, the transactions will be updated automatically, thereby saving you time and ensuring accuracy.
  • Easy to scale
    With cloud-based services, you can easily scale your business as it grows by adding to the services you subscribe to. At the same time, if your business is experiencing a slowdown and you need to reduce expenses, you can scale down by reducing the number of subscribed services.
  • Data accessibility
    You can easily access your financial status at any time, unlike when you run a traditional desktop accounting system. This is possible from any device that has an internet connection.
  • Access to various functions, features and support
    Cloud accounting enables a small business to have access to different accounting features and functions, such as project estimates, finance, billing, invoicing, tax summary, and stocks, among others. This is because of the ability to select services depending on the needs of your business and your budget.
  • Enables remote working and collaboration
    Cloud accounting allows for remote working, which is especially important with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and recommendations to work from home. This enhances collaboration with your team and financial advisor because you can all work on the same system at the same time, regardless of your location. The accountant also needs not go through the trouble of importing client data.
  • Financial reports
    Cloud accounting allows for access to regular reports that include insights about the financial state of your business. This enables a business owner to have an up-to-date picture of how the business is performing anytime, whether at home, at work or on the go.
  • Data security
    Data on the cloud is more secure than data stored on a hard drive, which can be accessed if it is stolen. In the case of a natural disaster, your business productivity is not greatly affected because you can still access your data. This is because it’s the responsibility of the cloud provider to ensure data security, make regular backups, scan servers for vulnerabilities and use the latest technology.

Final Words

Cloud accounting enables small businesses to enjoy business efficiency and increased productivity while reducing costs. Businesses of all sizes, even small ones, have to keep up with changing technology. Any business that wants to maintain a competitive edge has the option to do away with traditional accounting desktop software.