Automation has definitely been a hot topic these days in the accounting industry. Research shows that more and more business owners are accepting automation, and accounting firms must do the same in order to provide the best service to their clients.
There have been assumptions about automation taking over a bookkeeper’s job. But we shouldn’t fear it, but instead, welcome it with open arms. While many may find it to be threatening, it’s actually going to help us in the long run. A great example is the emergence of the ATM. When ATMs were first introduced, people thought tellers would become a thing of the past. However, that was not the case. While ATMs are capable of taking care of certain functions, they haven’t replaced tellers whose roles simply evolved.
We see a similar situation in accounting. Basic level tasks in bookkeeping are being automated, which has its perks. First, many small businesses are moving to the cloud. According to “Small Business Success in the Cloud,” a new report from Emergent Research and Intuit®, almost 80% of small businesses will be moving to the cloud. That’s a substantial boost considering that the current rate is 37%. We can expect bank reconciliations and transaction coding to be automated in the near future. The data entry process happens to be our cloud accounting team’s least favorite task and they’re more than ready to offload it. They would much rather focus their time and energy on helping clients in other ways.
One of the challenges of automation is learning about the different technologies and how they integrate with your accounting platform. Our specialists are certified and experienced in many of these platforms and are ready to help business owners through the sync errors and challenges. In fact, our team holds over 100 certifications on platforms like Expensify, Bill.com, QBO, Xero, Veem, and Hubdoc. They’re always ready to help businesses find and implement the most cost-effective solutions.
Communication is also key to business owners. Many business owners still want to able to communicate with their bookkeeper about their financials. Sometimes just having a phone conversation saves a lot of time than going over back and forth email. At Acuity, not only do our clients get to communicate with their bookkeeper, but they also have access to free CFO hours each quarter. Besides free CFO hours, we also have a controller team that can help growing businesses with their advanced financial needs.
As automation increases, people should focus on improving their tech skills. The role of the bookkeeper isn’t going away but will transform in certain ways. The ideal bookkeeper will be extremely tech-savvy and have accounting skills. With many small businesses moving to the cloud, there’s a huge need for accountants and bookkeepers. Technology and the cloud have also helped in making the bookkeeper role virtual. We’re looking forward to seeing what else 2019 brings to the accounting space!