50 Shades Of Grey: The Dull World Of Accountancy

Cloud Accounting

Okay, the world has got it right: accountancy is boring. It’s all about chasing invoices, requesting receipts, managing spreadsheets and doing sums. It’s dull. But it doesn’t have to be. Your client knows that you can do the maths – but you can do the strategy too. And that’s where the value is.

In fact, the profession is full of entrepreneurial accountants that are looking to transform the tired old accounting model and move it from a volume-based commodity offering, to a service-based, value-added one.

The best accountants are becoming much more commercial, and are driving value both into their own practices and into their clients’ business too. They’re improving client engagement, and encouraging customers to become more proactive in how they run their businesses – offering operational and strategic advice that helps make and save money.

How are they doing this? They’re harnessing technology and adopting cloud-based accounting solutions to make their businesses scalable, agile and future-proof. In the process, they are making the transition from the grey accountant to the business-savvy trusted adviser.

Sense & Sensibility

By using the Cloud, accountants are liberated from the minutia of mundane and common book-keeping duties, and are instead empowered to add true value to the relationship. Cloud solutions give both the client and the accountant real-time access to dynamic accounting information – and enable proactive accountants to challenge clients’ commercial sensibilities.

The benefits for client relations are significant. Using the traditional model, engagement with clients can often be irritating and disruptive; chasing lost receipts and missing invoices. With cloud solutions, interaction can be much more positive.

By automating manual processes, accountants can save time on the dull duties and reinvest it on advising clients on key business issues. For example, by scanning invoices directly into the system, clients can have real-time access to their data, and when required, can drill down to individual orders and transactions to measure progress.

The more frequent and positive client engagement enabled by the Cloud can certainly help accountants rediscover potentially dormant advisory skills. Ongoing analysis of live accounts can, for example, help accountants identify clients that commonly exceed their payment terms – and advise businesses to resource more effectively to avoid it.

Likewise, accountants can highlight poor or well-performing product categories; and advise where additional investment could be beneficial, or where business could be discontinued. Proactive advice of this nature can positively impact cash-flow and drive growth – and add real value to the relationship. And moreover, it can add colour to the traditionally grey world of accounting.

So ask yourself the following questions: is your practice aligned for growth? Are you optimising technology and automating processes that can help you transform your operating model? Do you have the right systems in place to scale up your business?

Or are there occasions when the operational cost of adding a new client to the system is actually greater than the revenues that customer generates? What is your technology cost – and is it prohibitive to growth? Moreover, how agile is your system – can you adapt to change? Because let’s face it, the accounting world is changing. So don’t get left behind; step forward to a brighter future.

Accountancy does not need to be 50 shades of grey. With cloud-based accounting solutions, entrepreneurial practice leaders can whip their organisations into shape, and build the very best relationships with clients. If you want your firm to become a bestseller, moving to the cloud is more than just a novel idea.

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Barbara Kroll

Barbara Kroll is the Managing Director of Twinfield UK, a brand of the Wolters Kluwer Group. Prior to her appointment at Twinfield UK, Barbara was the Segment Vice President for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting in Europe. Previously, she had roles as Vice President in Wolters Kluwer’s Corporate Strategy Group and Director of Online at McGraw-Hill Construction, both in New York. Barbara started her career as a strategy consultant with L.E.K Consulting in London and Chicago. She holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and an MA in Economics from Cambridge University.