Connected accounting – myth or reality?
‘Connected accounting’ has been a popular buzz-phrase for a few years now.
You hear it from accountants who want to position themselves as modern and digitally-savvy, and from software providers who want to promote their product as a way to achieve this.
But what does it actually mean to be a connected accountant?
These days, simply using cloud software isn’t enough – clients have come to expect it by default.
If anything, being a truly connected accountant means something deeper about the fundamentals of your approach: automation by default, zero tolerance for inefficiency, and always true integration between systems.
Go beyond the cloud
A lot of the time, when people talk about ‘connected accounting’, they’re mainly talking about using cloud-based software like Sage or Xero.
That’s not a bad thing in itself. In fact, we think all accountants should be using the cloud, not just for accounting tasks but to manage their practice as a whole.
It offers a huge number of benefits, especially compared to using desktop packages or manually inputting information using paper documents, and opens up some valuable opportunities to automate and integrate more of your processes.
The problem is when this is where the concept of connected accounting begins and ends. Simply working through cloud software isn’t enough. …
Many people are used to using the cloud in their day-to-day lives, whether for email or file storage, and clients will expect their accountant to operate online by default. After all, these products are available to consumers, too – the benefits of cloud software are no secret.
That means, to establish a genuine point of difference as an accountant, you need to go further in developing efficient and effective digital processes.
Don’t compromise: automate and integrate for true connectivity
Many accountants will stick with the software setup they already have not because it’s the most efficient solution, but because improving it sounds like too major a project to embark on.
It makes sense – developing a digitally connected practice from the ground up is daunting. It means going back to the fundamentals of your current workflow, and looking at the way you operate across every aspect of your practice.
Faced with this task, picking out a single piece of software and sticking it on top of your existing practices feels like a much simpler solution.
But the chances are, weaknesses and faults will creep into your processes at some point when you do this. These might be small enough not to disrupt your day–to-day work, but they’ll take up your time all the same. They’ll make it difficult for you to delegate tasks, too, if you’re the only one who’s used to the quirks of your system – or, if you’re relying on a key member of staff to manage everything correctly, you run the risk that the whole operation collapses when that person leaves.
If your current process still requires you to transfer data yourself, or remember complicated manual hacks, it’s not true integration.
Take the time to go back and fix your processes, or even rebuild them from scratch with a focus on what’s really the most efficient way for you and your clients.
Once you know what you need, you can look for the right software for the job. Again, don’t accept inefficiencies or quick fixes when it comes to the features you really need – choose the software that’s fit for the task at hand, then integrate your platforms so they work seamlessly together.
AIRPA makes it easy to connect any data sources with any software, without compromise. Book your free trial today.