Automation in Accounting: It’s Actually Good for You
April 26, 2022 •Oak Street Funding
No doubt some ancient bookkeeper reacted to the invention of the abacus by complaining it would disrupt their ability to perform tasks and eliminate their job. The history of accounting has been one of constant technological innovations many believed would upend the profession. Adjustment to change can be hard. Yet most innovations have empowered accountants, improved their efficiency, and enhanced their value to their clients.
Current accounting automation advances are no different. While it may provoke anxiety among some practitioners, successful CPAs recognize automation’s potential to transform both the profession and their firms. Many CPAs actually embrace new technology because it replaces manual tasks often perceived as drudgery (like recordkeeping and tax preparation) and allows more time to focus on strategic roles such as risk management and auditing.
Protecting your value
Given the inevitability of a continued increase of automation in accounting -- and the exciting applications of artificial intelligence (AI) -- it’s a great time for CPAs to examine what their practices can do to remain competitive and protect their clients. As technology ages, it becomes more susceptible to cyberattacks, soeeping technology up to date with the latest protections is crucial in protecting your assets and value as a trusted partner. Plus, because other practices are successfully deploying new automation and shifting their business approaches, failing to embrace innovation could leave you falling behind the competition.
Automation is a leveler
A key advantage of automation is its ability to level the competitive field. The ever-shrinking cost of innovations allows smaller CPA practices to offer sophisticated services that were once the province of industry giants. Those services can be especially helpful when it comes to client retention. As your clients' businesses become more complex, they'll appreciate knowing the professionals they already trust can offer the capabilities they need.
Faster, more efficient
One of the biggest benefits offered by automation is the amount of time it can save. When you and your team use technology to automate previously time-consuming tasks, you can use more of your day to focus on higher-value work. That can lead to substantial increases in margins. In addition, you’ll be able to respond to client requests more quickly, while improving your operating efficiency ratio. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) offers many resources focused on digital optimization for the industry.
Automation also improves your ability to make decisions and issue recommendations to clients. Using technology to leverage and analyze today's wealth of data can improve both your access to insight and your confidence in applying that insight to client needs. That makes you a more valuable strategic partner as your clients pursue growth opportunities.
Investments pay off
Accounting professionals have long faced the dilemma of whether to invest in innovations, whether that was new adding machines for clerks a century ago or bringing AI capabilities to today's practices. By continuing to adapt your practice to changes in automation, you'll protect client relationships and their most important assets.
Disclaimer: Please note, Oak Street Funding does not provide legal or tax advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. It is not a statement of fact or recommendation, does not constitute an offer for a loan, professional or legal or tax advice or legal opinion and should not be used as a substitute for obtaining valuation services or professional, legal or tax advice.
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