How Technology is changing the role of Accountants
Recent developments in online software are transforming how accountants are recommending products to their clients as business owners can now automate every aspect of their workflow across their business and benefit from real-time office-to-field connectivity.
For a number of years, West Sussex and Gatwick-based chartered accountants, Carpenter Box, has been one of the leaders in promoting and distributing cloud based software to their clients. They are, in fact, UK Accounting Partner of the Year and the second largest distributor of Xero accounting software, behind only KPMG. However, as Carpenter Box Partner, Nathan Keeley explains:
“For progressive businesses Xero is just a starting point, the foundation if you like of an efficient and deployable accounting system. Over the years a number of ‘add-ons’ have been developed which enables Xero to be tuned to a business’ unique needs. Clients need us to understand what these ‘add-ons’ do and to recommend the best of breed to them. As such, in our view, accountants now need to have a wide knowledge of what cloud accounting is and how it can be tailored to help businesses understand and manage their finances in a way that was not possible, even a few years ago.”
In our view the role of the accountant should very much be around being the trusted business adviser, rather than end-of-year number cruncher. In our case, in retail for instance, by using software such as Xero with Vend point of sale software as an ‘add-on’, all a retailer needs is an iPad, a lockable cash drawer and a blue tooth scanner. There is therefore no capital spend on items such as tills, instead just an easy to use and responsive cloud based system with stock control and management tools as standard for a manageable monthly fee.
Nathan concludes: “The add-ons and specialist software now available have enabled us to understand more about our clients and recommend suitable solutions whilst allowing our clients to operate more efficiently in terms of time spent on business administration. They see savings in terms of both time and money, so it’s a real ‘Win-Win’ situation all round!”