In this digital age people are moving further away from keeping paper records and instead seeing the benefits of using software online. Sage offer a wide range of packages that suit every type of person or business.
Sage, the market leader in cloud business management solutions, has released its annual Practice of Now research report, revealing a shifting cultural landscape in the accounting sector driven by evolving client demands and the marketplace.
Technological innovation has led the way in how accounting is done nowadays. Digital resources and online tools improve productivity and organization. Manual accounting has virtually disappeared and has been replaced by electronic accounting. This has not only reduced errors but provided, at the same time, better and more accurate reporting amongst other advantages. It is therefore imperative that accountants keep aware of the latest technological advances and use them to drive business. Here are six advantages of online accounting:
Accounting firms prepare for the future through updated hiring practices, expanded services and automation.
Of the 3,000 accountants surveyed worldwide in 2019, 90% believe there has been a cultural shift in accountancy as it enters the next decade. This shift is driving significant changes in hiring practices, business services and attitudes toward emerging technologies across the globe.
“Accountants around the world are embracing change within the profession, bringing in new skill sets and expanding services to better meet client needs,” said Jennifer Warawa, EVP of Partners, Accountants and Alliances, at Sage. “The future is promising, but there are still challenges ahead and more work to be done in order to build a successful practice for both today, and the decade to come.
Accountants need to carefully evaluate changes in the workplace, paying close attention to skills, training, technology adoption, changing client expectations and diversity within firms. Innovation in these key areas will power the next generation of accountancy firms.”
The capabilities of a Sage system include:
Ability to print out invoices
Updating customer and supplier records
Automatic update of the general ledger
Automatic altering of stock levels
Automatic calculation of payroll
Summarizes customer accounts with overdue balances
Valuation of stock
An Industry Ready for Change
Amidst this cultural shift, there’s no doubt that meeting client expectations begin with employees. In fact, 82% of accountants said they are considering recruiting from a non-traditional background. Furthermore, 43% of respondents say that new accountants joining the profession should have industry experience outside accounting. The accountancy profession will need to bring in new skill sets and update business processes to meet customer expectations or risk losing out to competing firms.
As skill sets such as technological literacy, relationship building and business advisory become increasingly important, 62% of respondents agree that today’s accounting training programs will not be enough to run a successful practice by 2030. Training programs will need updating so that firms can keep pace with innovation and evolving client demands.
A Diverse Workforce for Today—and Tomorrow
With a gulf in the talent required to build a modern, digital firm, what’s needed is a commitment to building a diverse workforce. But this year’s data identifies an underlying issue not yet addressed by many practices. Just 30% of firms say they’re actively seeking to diversify their workforce. Only 28% have a written policy on diversity and inclusion. Even fewer (23%) have offered training or have altered any policies or procedures to promote diversity and inclusion (21%).
Building a Practice Ready for the Next Decade
Accountants can see challenges ahead, and they’re preparing for it. 49% of respondents have formally examined their business practices in the last year, with an additional 26% stating they have formally examined their business practices in the last five years. All signs point to a profession building for the future. Still, accounting and bookkeeping remain the dominant service offering in practices worldwide (79%), however; business advisory services (17%) and outsourced CFO (5%) remain a significant growth opportunity.
As accountants re-evaluate business models, 85% state that the profession in their country needs to pick up the pace of technology adoption to remain competitive internationally. Over half of respondents (56%) cite increases in productivity as the main benefit of technology adoption, with an additional 27% citing time savings as its main value. Meanwhile, more than half of the respondents look forward to adopting relevant artificial intelligence (AI) applications as available.
The Benefits sage accounting software
Rule out Human Error
By having a completely computerised method of storing all of your financial information, you rule out the risk of human error, such as jotting down the wrong figures or misplacing information. These seemingly small errors can have a catastrophic effect on a business’s financial standing, so having an accurate system is hugely beneficial to the user.
Real Time Financial Information
You can access your account and see all the transactions and your cashflow to date as the system is updated in real time. This is handy if you need to check you can afford unforeseen costs or to confirm which transactions have been processed.
Less Time Consuming
Data entry can be carried out much quicker than if it were done manually, and the information only has to be entered into the system once, even if it’s to be used for many purposes.
Keeps Things Simple
When businesses grow and develop, accountancy becomes much more complex. Computerised accounting systems sift through all of the data easily and make the process much more straightforward than manual accountancy.
Sage accounting systems are quick and efficient, which makes them much more cost-effective than paper-based accounting as the work requires less hourly paid work. Furthermore, the systems are usually issued at a very low monthly subscription cost.
Virtual storage of documents
Keeping paper records is an expensive and time-consuming task. Few would argue otherwise. And there are other issues to consider such as physical space. Digitising documents has gradually been replacing physical storage. Speed of access is one such benefit, but there are many more, particularly through the use of Cloud computing.
The elimination of bureaucracy through the use of platforms
Online accounting systems, such as Sage Business Cloud, are simple and intuitive platforms that provide direct channels to clients as well as conduits for information, documents and any other materials that can be digitised. This flexibility eliminates layers of bureaucracy and therefore saves time. These platforms also provide online management tools that help complete tasks and achieve goals.
Virtual calendars and task management
The online diary is the cornerstone of the day-to-day running of the office. Digital platforms offer calendar management tools such as alerts that will contribute towards meeting deadlines and avoiding fines. These tools are easily accessible via mobile devices and any updates are shared instantly between all those involved.
The use of specific online tools for accounting and tax
Some digital platforms offer specific tools for accountants. Sage Business Cloud offers a partner edition aimed specifically at accountants. The system is fully compliant and updated regularly to reflect the latest changes in legislation. This version also includes Payroll. Other tools include automation and reporting. The end result is increased productivity and operational efficiency.
The importance of regular training
In order to maximise any gains derived from technology, it is essential that employers provide training. It is only through regular training that accountants and other professionals will be able to deliver and fulfil expectations. A trained professional will avoid mistakes and save time for the business. Training should also go beyond technology to include legal compliance and changes in legislation.
Connecting to customers
Technology has brought accounting professionals and customers closer. Dedicated platforms make communication easier and instant which for many clients translates in saving time and increased efficiency. It also makes it easier to track customer service and easily make improvements, therefore, improving customer satisfaction.