Whether your accounting practice was born digital, has a successful digital transformation journey or
simply has digital aspirations, there are several new must-have technology solutions that may
pique your interest.
Being in the know, and at the forefront of digital innovation, can help the modern practice adapt faster and roll out services more quickly. This may be a top selling point for new clients. If the past two years have taught us anything, it is that being fast and futureproofed can be highly regarded in an unpredictable, disruptive business landscape.
Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK believes and invests in technology that makes a difference. In this article, we’re looking at some of the most recent digital innovations available to practices today.
Eliminate Paper-Based Processes with the Move to Digital Apps
From reports and receipts to approval forms and beyond, paper-based systems are unlikely to boost productivity. This can be a stumbling block to business growth. According to an LSE review of the 2010s, “the UK has seen slow rates of productivity growth over the past decade”, while “output per hour and real wages are no higher…than they were prior to the financial crisis” in 2008.
Productivity gains are an opportunity ripe for picking. Receipt-scanning apps are a great example of a simple and cost-effective solution. These can cut out extensive, human-based preparation work in the back office. Practices can therefore move to a real-time digital document workflow environment. Many of these are real-time workflow apps that feature Optical Recording Capture (ORC), which automates key bookkeeping processes. Such processes include invoice capture, processing, approving and booking of sales and purchase invoices.
By snapping copies of documents using a smartphone camera, these apps are saving modern practices time. This frees up human resources to focus on higher-value accounting work.
Manage Your Newfound Digital Assets
There are further opportunities when it comes to moving from paper to digital. Introducing document storage and management solutions to your practice can be a great way to manage your newfound digital assets, and achieve new efficiency levels. These solutions make digital document storage and retrieval easy; you can store, share and manage all information digitally.
Some firms are still using emails as document management systems. This means that information is siloed in people’s inboxes, which is inefficient and impractical. A document management system ensures that everyone can have visibility of emails coming into and leaving the practice. This improves the client experience and efficiency within your practice.
When practices have digital files, multiple people can access information and work collaboratively on documents at any time. Encouraging multiple information sharing results in less task repetition because the information is universally accessible.
Digital document management systems are also often integrated into tax and accounting suites such as CCH OneClick. This means that you can create standard documents from easily edited templates. You can also give your clients instant and secure access to documents, or any other files you’d like to share. You can even introduce document approval workflows, as well as automatic filing for client emails and documents.
Making Gains with the Cloud
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many practices turned to the cloud. This ensured they had instant remote access to client data, and allowed them to serve their client base seamlessly – in real time. Small and medium-sized practices have certainly recognised the power of the cloud for remote working and digital engagement with their clients. Storing accounting information online with cloud software has made that information secure and accessible for them.
Some practices even feel that lockdown enabled them to encourage clients who had previously stuck with paper-based documents to adopt a digital format. In fact, a Cloud Industry Forum research study found that 69% of UK-based IT and business decision-makers had accelerated their digital transformation plans – particularly surrounding the cloud – as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many practices are also looking to offer new services via-cloud based apps. The cloud can offer a perfect place to communicate and exchange documents securely. In particular, the cloud can also offer a secure approval environment. Using the latest secure encryption standards, your clients can view and edit documents easily via the cloud.
Real-Time Accounting and Bookkeeping Reports with Bespoke KPI Building Tools
Our finsit cloud insights software transforms complex financial figures into simple infographics and visual reports. This makes it much easier for your clients to make decisions about their financial futures.
However, working with real-time KPI tools can go deeper than one-off metrics for a client report. Using the cloud, modern accounting practices can create their own bespoke KPIs and monitor them, while automating repetitive tasks and tracking performance.
Such accountancy practices receive automatic alerts when pre-defined conditions are met. This highlights opportunities and flags issues before they become problems. With automated KPI monitoring and alerts, your team can leave manual monitoring behind. This can ultimately boost practice productivity, which may then be reflected in your KPIs.
Here’s To a Digital Future
At Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK, we create value for accountancy practices by combining deep domain knowledge with advanced technology and services – in order to deliver better outcomes, analytics, and improved productivity.
We use technology to communicate in today’s virtual world, many of us are quickly realising the value of powerful digital tools. All practices can use these to increase visibility and productivity. Practices that had already made some progress in their digital journeys have now found that these same tools have made today’s challenging climate easier to overcome. If your practice is at the start of its digital journey, we would suggest that you explore these new digital tools. They can help to achieve business continuity and increase practice growth.