Intuit Accountancy Report Has Pronounced Implications for Accountants and SMEs

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A report tracking the shifts and upcoming trends in the world of accountancy has revealed some interesting ideas about where the future of SME accounting lies: in part-time, online accounting services with remote cloud access and flexibility a key aspect. Intuit’s ‘Future of Accounting 2013’ report reveals that the way accountancy practices function, and attitudes to accounting among those founding their own businesses and starting out on their own, will dramatically change in the coming years, with a much higher emphasis on technology and cloud-based communication.

Laurence Collins, Managing Director of Magic Accounts, an online accountancy firm which is already offering these services to SMEs across the country, says, “Online accountants have become increasingly important in a fast-paced world where decisions often have to be made instantly and there is no room for booking an appointment then waiting a week for a consultation. Technological advances have meant that clients now expect a more interactive, accessible service, with a qualified accountant just a short email away and their entire accounts available to view securely online anytime, anywhere.”

He adds, “At Magic Accounts we offer the type of cloud-based online accountancy services that Intuit have predicted are going to be key in the coming years, as the millennial generation, who have been raised on technology, instant decisions and ultimate convenience, start to take up the mantle from the baby-boomers and compete in the world of business.”

The Intuit report tracked a number of implications for the future of business and accounting. An ageing baby boomer generation that have experienced great financial success will start to need help with financial and estate planning, and many will start to operate part-time businesses to supplement their income after retirement. The next generation, known as ‘millennials’, will have greater demands of their accountants, expecting digital and virtual interaction almost instantaneously, as well as the more traditional methods of accounting that prevail. Interestingly, women will also prove a key demographic in the future of accounting. In the past ten years, women have been the founders of startups and SMEs twice as much as men, and in the coming decades there will be an increasing number of women who are charged with making the financial decisions for homes and businesses.

The introduction of technology will have great consequences for the way in which accountancy practices are operated. Less time will be spent on data collection, and with the quality of analytical tools out there, much more time will be spent analysing data, providing performance reports and offering decision-support services that will help to make businesses more stable and secure in their finance. Technology, as has already been proven, will also increase the number of people who can work on-the-go, sending the number of freelancers, work-from-home employees and flexible members of staff through the roof. This will increase demand for anytime, anywhere interaction with accountants who will need to adopt a number of new technologies to be able to make themselves available to clients at all times.

As technology continues to take roots as one of the most important elements of financial management, for both accountants and for clients, both groups are encouraged to ensure they are fully informed of their options. Accountants must strive to ensure that they are providing clients with a cutting-edge service, meeting all their requirements using methods enhanced by technology, and clients must ensure that they know what they should be receiving from accountants, in terms of overall service, analytical software, communication levels and security concerns.

Mr Collins, of Magic Accounts, adds, “The next decade will make or break many accountancy firms, but the ones who will prevail are the ones most amenable to change and to progress. Many SMEs will also find they meet their end in the next ten years, but in their place will blossom a new group of business owners with a focus on technology, convenience, high-quality analysis and instant response. Both groups will need to move with the times if they are to see any success in the developing world of business.”