We’ve rounded up 3 of the most interesting accounting tech trends for the year so far.
Keeping up with the tech world sometimes feels like you’ve been hit with a tidal wave of information. There is so much going on that it can be hard to keep up. So, we want to help you out and give you the 3 most interesting accounting tech trends we see happening in 2018.
Automation is often met with fear. The idea that ‘the robots will take our jobs’ is one that rises whenever we see a new software that takes over a task.
While accounting may seem like an industry that’s constantly facing the threat, automation has actually improved accountants’ work. For example, data entry is one aspect that is becoming less and less necessary. Many accounting software packages offer bank feed integration, which automatically imports the latest transactions. And there are also receipt scanning applications that feed into accounting software, sending the relevant information from each slip of paper.
The next step in automation (and one that is already in play) is machine learning. Xero already does this in their software. When you code a transaction, it learns to apply that coding to similar transactions. It is possible that one day, even coding could fully automated.
So what does that mean for accountants? More time to focus on value-add services that need their expertise, such as financial planning and forecasting.
The trend of modular software is nothing new. If anything, it is a trend that is continuing to grow. There is new software every day, and the first question is often, ‘What does it integrate with?’
Xero is a fantastic example of modular software. It was created to be the cloud accounting solution for business, but that is as far as its main function goes. Other parts of a business’ day-to-day like sales pipeline, CRMs, and payment gateways still need to be sorted out. There are lots of SaaS offerings out there that can take care of these areas. But the more software in use, the higher the risk of double up. So, finding SaaS that directly integrates with Xero removes that risk and increases productivity. It also means that you can find a SaaS that suits your working style and your team, rather than being shoehorned into something that isn’t completely suitable.
Because financials are at the heart of every business, accountants need accounting software that plays well with others. The ability to add-on as needed can streamline a process and make it easier for clients to provide information.
Blockchain seems like the latest buzzword, but it’s here to stay. Blockchain is generally linked to cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, where it has its origins, but that is an example of its use rather than its definition.
Trying to define blockchain technology is no easy task. This analogy from BlockGeeks.com is probably the best way to describe it:
“Picture a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers. Then imagine that this network is designed to regularly update this spreadsheet and you have a basic understanding of the blockchain.”
This kind of technology holds massive promise for many industries; most of all, the financial industry. It holds the potential to create a robust transaction system that decentralises data, increasing security and reducing points of attacks for hackers. It takes the banks out of the equation, making transactions easier and quicker.
For accountants, it offers the opportunity to reduce the workload when it comes to auditing. Imagine ledgers that are constantly kept up-to-date with no chance of anyone altering them. Performing an audit becomes a much simpler task.
For now, this trend is still one in the making, but time will tell how much disruption it will cause.
Trends come and go
Technology is always changing, so in another year, these trends may be completely different. But it pays to stay aware of them, so that when (not if) the time comes to adopt them, you’re ready.