Digital transformation has redefined the Finance and Accounting (F&A) services industry. Emerging technologies are helping accounting firms and accountants to complete their tasks more accurately, quickly, or efficiently. In the new era of change, emerging technologies are also changing new patterns of accountants. With the power of automation, accountants can reduce time spent on time-consuming and repetitive transactional work and focus on higher value advisory and consulting services.
The convergence of technology and outsourced accounting services lets accountants based in the UK consolidate their role as advisers on businesses and clients across different domains. According to a report in Accountancy Age, “Automation is very much the future. MTD and the wider change that automation brings are colossal, and businesses could never have been expected to make the switch overnight. Tax professionals realize businesses need to embrace automation in the next five years, and they are prepared to navigate the challenges it brings.”
MTD will help accounting firms seize new opportunities for digitalization. On the other hand, General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR will help protect and preserve customer data across the EU. Finance and accounting outsourcing firms have guided accountants and industries around the legalities of handling customer data. Just like the rapidly changing regulatory landscape, several emerging technologies are changing finance and accounting services.
In light of historical cases of data leak and the GDPR, cybersecurity will likely move up the priority list of many businesses.
Some FAO providers are however converting the challenges into opportunities by innovating in the following way
There are several compelling reasons for organizations to transform Finance & Accounting functions with the objective of not just cost savings, but adding business value.
Here are the top emerging technologies that are set to transform Accounting Outsourcing Services in the UK.
Accountants are leveraging the power of cloud computing to allow businesses to stay connected. Accounting software was among the first to become available online from budgeting to spreadsheets. With cloud services becoming increasingly secure, companies are starting to use internal social media for collaborative accounting. Collaborative accounting can draw together multiple data sources and formats to deliver insights. The cloud-based infrastructure allows people to work together in real-time, regardless of their location, promoting greater collaboration.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Accounting firms conduct several activities ranging from collecting primary data to make complex decisions and counseling business leaders. Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and analytics are assisting accounting outsourcing firms to make a dramatic shift and create business value for clients.
RPA, when combined with AI, transcend beyond just enhancing efficiency and improving productivity in mundane tasks. AI is not about replacing accountants. It is about undertaking high-value, complex activities with great accuracy and reduce human oversight.
The use of RPA and AI in accounting outsourcing allows the human workforce to focus on value-adding activities such as advisory, planning, and decision-making. Machine-learning algorithms can be trained to manage tasks which a skilled employee can perform.
By adopting AI and RPA-based systems, accounting firms and accountants go beyond general improvements related to cost, productivity, and compliance and control. They’re moving finance professionals away from mundane, repetitive tasks and reaffirm their role as advisers to businesses.
The Blockchain technology is transforming how data is stored, verified, and accessed. It is a form of a ledger that records data or transactions in chronological order. The ledger is automatically maintained by each participant to create a decentralized ledger of assets and transactions. Blockchain is set to revolutionize finance and accounting. Unlike current financial transactions, it does not rely on any middleman or regulatory intermediary. Secure and transparent, consensus authentication drives Blockchain as the record of transactions is shared among all parties.
This emerging technology provides two advantages that are the crux of the accounting industry: transparency and immutability. The power of distributed ledger technology brings a whole new world of opportunities for accounting firms, both large and small. Blockchain eliminates the chances of human errors. By utilizing smart contracts, accountants can automate tasks related to reconciliation. With the increased adoption of Blockchain, accounting firms can expect to witness rapid cost savings over conventional accounting systems.
The important thing is to select an outsourced accounting services provider who has invested in technology, processes, and people. It is impossible to predict future innovations in terms of technologies. However, it is essential to evaluate its impact on accounting firms and their clients. Accountants need to be prepared to minimise risks and maximise the benefits to leverage technology and potentially give a new meaning to be an accountant.