With self-serve accounting solutions on the rise, and the market more competitive than ever, savvy accountants need to be on the lookout for any opportunity to add value to the client experience. And in the midst of a shifting technological landscape, it’s clear that there is one avenue that will keep accountants relevant long-term: technology consulting.
In the days of old, accounting firms often took a comprehensive role as technology consultants in addition to maintaining the books of their clients. As Dave McClure writes, these accountants “were the ones who brought computers into the enterprise, and into small business,” eventually guiding clients into the cloud. But after that fateful step, many accounting firms were left in the dust in terms of innovation, stuck scrambling to wrap their heads around clients’ new cloud-based software rather than the other way around.
Now, lagging behind your clients is simply untenable if you’re to provide any sort of lasting value. Today’s accountants need to become “Technoccountants,” equipping those they serve with productive technology solutions if they want to survive. What is a technoccountant? A technoccountant is an accountant that builds the foundation of their firm and advisory services around technology and acts as an IT consultant for their clients as well as a financial advisor. Here are a few quick tips on how to stay abreast of the latest technological developments and translate your knowledge into client success:
1. Align yourself with people who know technology front to back.
This can either mean hiring accountants with a strong tech background, or simply consulting with outside individuals or groups who happen to be experts with the latest technology. Even if you aren’t the most savvy tech user, having someone around who is, and who’s willing to show you the ropes, can go a long way in updating your systems and expertise.
2. Pay attention to the latest tech trends.
It takes more than reading an article or two a week to truly understand the ways in which technology is changing the business and accounting world. To give yourself a strong foundation, consider attending a conference that focuses at least partly on emerging technologies, such as those offered by AICPA. But you can’t stop there. If you work frequently with industry-specific software, writes Jeff Drew in the Journal of Accountancy, try setting up an RSS feed or two focused on new developments with key programs. Make reading AccountingToday or Journal of Accountancy Technology sections a habit, and check out the AICPA’s quick list of technology resources.
3. Focus on your client’s goals.
No matter how much knowledge you gain or technology you have at your disposal, you should always remain mindful of the value you’re adding for the people you serve. Master the tech trends specific to their business better than they ever could, so that when they come with questions, you can answer them with authority. Consider sending a survey to determine the software and workflow they use in their day-to-day so you can equip them with productivity-saving add-ons. Technoccountants are always looking to the future, searching for ways they can implement new digital strategies into their clients’ organizations to save them time and money.
AccountingSuite is cloud based accounting software with advanced inventory management included. We partner with accountants to keep your firm on the cutting-edge, developing Technoccountants daily! Schedule a demo to learn more.