The business world has been inundated with new technology over the last several years. In every industry, new technology has appeared that’s completely revolutionized those fields. Unfortunately, one area that technology and innovations have not yet flooded is the accounting industry. Though this may be the case, the accounting industry also seems ripe for disruption. There are common factors that indicate an industry may be on the cusp of disruption, such as complacency, frustration, innovation, and little automation. All it takes is an industry to have a couple of these hallmarks before disruption occurs and the industry looks completely different in a short period of time. I’ll highlight current trends in the accounting industry that likely point toward a disruption in the near future.
People want easy access to the services they use, whether it’s through online accounts or apps on their personal devices. It’s important for many people to be able to access their various accounts in a few seconds and look at their information. It’s also important to be able to communicate easily with others, such as their accountant, to ask them questions that may arise at any moment. Accountants are beginning to take advantage of this technology and are utilizing online resources where they can easily communicate with their clients or set up group calls or chats to discuss different scenarios or questions.
Prominence of DIY
There is now a lot of accounting software on the market, such as Quickbooks, that small businesses, or even individuals, have begun using instead of accountants. This software is incredibly user-friendly, easy to figure out, and generally much more affordable than hiring a personal accountant. There is also a huge range of videos, guides, and tutorials that explain to people how to handle their own accounting and plenty of people take advantage of that. While this prominence of DIY tools for accounting does not necessarily mean that the accounting industry is going to disappear, it does mean that accountants need to find ways to compete with these online tools.
In many industries, consumers have come to expect the service they’re paying for to be specialized for them and their individual needs. We can specialize nearly anything now; cars, computers, phones, cable, and social media. Clients expect this same service when they purchase goods for their business, such as an accountant to advise them. Specialization can be the main factor in causing disruption in an industry, because clients are demanding a large change from traditional services, which often leads to companies having to revamp the way they offer services, or it opens the door for start-ups to come onto the scene with new innovations to appeal to clients.
Finally, automation is changing the way the accounting industry runs. Data entry no longer needs to be done manually, or sometimes at all. Most documentation is now online, lessening the need for hard copies or people to carefully examine and enter data, when a computer program can complete this task and analyze the data in a few seconds. A way for accountants to utilize this new automation and technology is to pay attention to the insights offered by the automatic programs after they analyze the data. While a program can give great information and evaluate data, accountants can add a personal touch and advise their clients according to the results they see.