Across all industries, from accounting to banking and insurance, companies have set digital transformation on the agenda. In a survey conducted by Forbes, 52% of enterprises say that enabling worker productivity through tools such as a mobile, data access, and AI-assisted processes are at the heart of their digital business strategy.
Digital transformation is a bold promise, with potentially transformative results. It could result in a total change of your lifestyle: more time on your hands, a boost for your profits and more good days in the office.
Here are the three pillars of digital transformation for accounting firms, and how you can use them at your firm to get tangible results.
PILLAR 1: DIGITISATION
What’s the problem with paper?
Traditionally, you might rely on your clients to send shoe-boxes and files of receipts to your office. In some cases, you may need to drive to their offices to pick them up. Inevitably, receipts get lost: thrown away, stuck behind car-seats or covered in coffee. Each week, you spend hours chasing clients to send paperwork, while your clients need to keep reminding their team to keep expenses to-hand.
When you finally receive the paperwork, you then need to manually key in this data. Often, on the nights when you are doing it right before a client deadline, every minute matters. One mistake could be costly.
The perks of paperless
Apps such as Receipt Bank make it easier to take your process paperless.
Instead of gathering receipts and expenses from your client, your client uses the Receipt Bank mobile or desktop app to take photos of their receipts as soon as they get them. This means no more storage in filing cabinets or storage units; your receipts are easily accessible and available online anywhere, at any time.
For UK businesses, moving digital will soon no longer be a choice. Making Tax Digital (MTD) will oblige all tax records to be submitted digitally from April 2019. Other authorities will soon be moving in a similar direction. Digitising your expenses and invoices through an app like Receipt Bank will help prepare your firm for the change, and enable you to offer clients data in real-time.
PILLAR 2: AUTOMATION
Automation - a dirty word?
Did you become an accountant or bookkeeper to add data to a spreadsheet?
Your clients did not choose you for the hours spent keying in data. They value you for the benefits you offer: peace of mind at the end of the tax year that everything is in order and that someone is looking out for their business’s financial health.
In the wave of automation, much has been said about the threat to the workplace. In the future, which jobs will be replaced by robots for the sake of slashing budgets or increasing efficiency? However, when used right, automation is an essential partner putting you in charge of your time and enhancing what you do best.
How does Receipt Bank automation work?
After digitising your receipts, Receipt Bank does its magic. Here is where those dinner-party worthy terms of digital transformation come into play.
Using optical character recognition (OCR), Receipt Bank scans your bills, receipts and invoices, extracts the data and stores it securely in the cloud. Machine learning algorithms ensure this process gets better over time.
“By automating your manual data entry, you can do more of what you love: whether that’s helping your clients grow through analytics and projections, or taking your Fridays off to spend time with family and friends.”
Imagine spending this time investing in your clients grow their business. Just read on for the third and final pillar for ways you can make more data-driven decisions to drive growth.
PILLAR 3: MANAGEMENT
More data-driven decisions
If you store your paperwork in filing cabinets and storage units, searching for information or providing clients with real-time data is time-consuming and sometimes impossible. Plus, should anything happen to your office such as a fire or flood, your records are at risk.
Storing your clients financial data in the cloud offers a host of advantages:
- Easily search information, filtering by period, amount and supplier;
- Access client information anywhere, any time;
- Manage your internal workflows in the cloud-based system.
This is the ideal foundation for adopting a data-centric approach. Instead of spending your time sourcing, sorting and process data, you can use it to make a difference for your clients.
Accountants and bookkeepers are ideally placed to draw and implement insights from their clients' financial performance. For instance, when does growth peak and trough, and how might your client prepare for this?
People, not technology, drive digital transformation. But it all starts with taking the step to evolve your process and add more value for your clients.
Beyond the pillars of digitisation, automation and management, you have the ability to deliver genuine, helpful customer experiences to your clients, create valuable relationships and lead your team into a more productive future. Technologies such as AI and machine learning are only reinforcing this.
Have you set digital transformation on the agenda?
Your free guide to going digital
For a step-by-step guide on how to implement these changes, download The Paperless Playbook today: the ultimate guide to streamlining your processes and taking charge of your time.