Automation is Redefining the Accounting Profession
While the accounting industry has been typically slower to adopt new technology, favouring traditional processes, the reality is that automated solutions are no longer being ignored. Advances in technology are reducing manual and routine tasks such as bookkeeping, payroll, AR/AP, and the reconciliation of investment portfolios to fully automated processes.
According to a survey of accounting professionals by Sage, 86% of respondents said automating data entry and reporting would free them up to create value-added services for clients; 53% see their roles becoming more strategic and being able to provide more financial and business advice to their customers.
According to the same survey, 97% of Canadian accountants voiced confidence about the future of accounting and their role in it, while 60% see their role becoming more strategic, allowing them to provide more financial advice to their customers.
In light of this, and other factors impacting the accounting profession, the CPA outlined, in its report Foresight: The Way Forward, two critical areas for accountants to add client value: (1) Rethinking value creation, both in terms of the development of new and evolving models of value creation and in reassessing how accountants add value, and (2) Mastering and shaping a data-driven economy. Every CPA must ultimately become comfortable in a world that will be data-rich, data-intense, and data-driven.
New paradigm opens up new possibilities
Firms that adopt automated solutions, then, are uniquely positioned to thrive in today’s increasingly digital world, one where client expectations of CPAs is evolving. Automation frees staff to focus on more strategic, value-add activities for their clients while reducing overall operating costs – key factors in an increasingly competitive marketplace. But this can only happen if they are willing to embrace the tech-enabled solutions available to them.
One of the biggest barriers to adoption, however, is trust – can we fundamentally change the way we work with solutions we may not fully understand? Can we trust vendors to have our best interest in mind? Is the risk worth it?
Trust is Earned
Recognizing a unique need in the accounting space, I founded Artiffex five years ago to automate the reconciliation of investment portfolios. At first, it wasn’t easy. Admittedly as our offering evolved we encountered the inevitable bugs and a few less than happy clients. But we knew our patented technology would have a significant impact on the operations of family offices and firms. Working closely with our clients, we uncovered and fixed the pain points and sought their feedback on how to make our platform better.
Today, firms using Artiffex’s automated solution have experienced up to 10x operational efficiency vs. manual data entry. Our solution is unlocking massive opportunities for our clients to cut costs and increase margins.
By automating the reconciliation of investment portfolios with such a high degree of precision, backed by a thorough onboarding process to ensure staff are up and running and getting the most from our platform, has engendered a tremendous amount of trust amongst our clients. One client cited that they have saved 40% of their time to process 4,000 transactions, while another reduced bookkeeping time by 45% for its three largest clients. Both have eliminated errors due to manual data entry.
How can you lead change in your organization?
As expectations in the adoption of new technology rise across both your clients and young professionals entering the workforce, it’ll be key to embrace this change and capitalize on the opportunities it presents. So how can you effectively do so?
- Ask yourself, what are the cost benefits to NOT automating traditional processes? Put everything on the table and determine what you can and cannot automate. Digitize the costly, time-consuming processes so your team has more time to differentiate yourself in this crowded market. Don’t obsess over hourly billing. Focus on value billing.
- Engage the right remote team: The right partner will help you pull together the right internal team to ensure your success. Seek out those in your organization who are resilient and tech-savvy to lead the work for your clients.
- Find the right partner for your success: Take the time to discuss your goals with your vendors.
Reach out to experts to ask about solutions. At Artiffex, for example, we increase our value by regularly deploying more automation and functionality in our platform, which is driven by a roadmap aligned directly with our customer’s needs. Everything we do links back to this. Doing so reduces the costs associated with onboarding and servicing new customers and encourages existing customers to increase adoption.
The time for transformation in the accounting industry has never been more important. Like you, your clients are managing constant and currently unprecedented uncertainty. It is critical that you become efficient in lesser, day-to-day tasks to free time to better serve them and their interests. The pandemic has only accelerated this timeline. It’s time for accountants and accounting firms to understand and grasp the real and proven opportunities to redefine their businesses. Doing so will ensure your success today and in the years ahead.
This article originally appeared in the June 2021 issue of Building Authentic Relationships: The Magazine for Super Connectors. You can download the full issue here: https://www.building-authentic-relationships.com/magazine