Why accounting as a brand needs to change

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As we prepare for 2022, accountants have a unique opportunity to set (or reset) their expectations and vision. In fact, now is a good time to ask: should the term “accountant” be redefined?

Our recent survey on the state of bookkeeping practices suggests the answer is yes. Bookkeepers are in a privileged position to rethink and rename their offering to meet customer needs in 2022 – and for those already embracing this change, the survey shows strong growth.

So whether you like to start the New Year with resolutions or just a new perspective, here are three areas to focus on that can help you capitalize on a New Year and a new you.

Digital

Although many accountants are using the cloud and embracing more digital processes, the industry is still bracing for a digital revolution. Stacks of paper invoices and sticky notes with scribbled reminders continue to block back office operations. Our survey found that bookkeepers give themselves a score of 6.7 / 10 on digital transformation.

Many accountants are already planning to improve their digital and analytical capabilities over the next year. We found that while 32% of accountants are already deploying data analytics, 29% plan to do so before 2023.

This bodes well for the future of the industry as advanced accountants experience the highest levels of growth. Of those surveyed, 80% of those who expect a significant increase in income also use or plan to use analytics software, compared to only 45% of other respondents.

These findings indicate that high-growth, future-ready accountants are adopting digital systems and the data that derives from them to improve business insights. Up-to-date systems can help accountants guide clients to the right decisions by delivering consolidated real-time data in one place, while integrating digital processes into workflows helps optimize time and the resources.

For example, AP automation can reduce the time spent on payments by up to 50%, giving employees the freedom to focus on strategic tasks or consulting services. Digital processes can truly fuel professional and financial growth.

Request

Demand for new and existing customer services is increasing as businesses grapple with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The top three challenges customers face are keeping businesses open (30%), increasing costs (27%), and recruiting or retaining employees (17%).

Bookkeepers are stepping in now to provide essentials that help solve these problems and should be prepared to do much more in the future. Our research has shown that the fastest growing bookkeepers are the ones who have become true business advisors to help meet client challenges. Of those who expect significant revenue growth, 85 percent currently provide consulting services, compared to 70 percent of the rest.

Providing financial or business advice may not be the right decision for every business, but all bookkeepers can benefit from an increased service offering. An incredible 84 percent of bookkeepers expect increased revenue this year, with 37 percent predicting significant increases in revenue.

To keep that momentum going, ask yourself how you can help customers overcome their biggest hurdles. What services could you offer that could help? How can the back-end of their business provide information about the problem or suggest a solution?

Digital data can help unlock the answer to this question and many more. Forget going through stacks of cases and think about what will help clients get closer to a real-time view of their cash flow or month-end results. Follow modern, high-growth accountants and take the first steps to digitize processes and data to help clients make better decisions and arm you with more insight.

Delivery

The rise of consulting and technology-driven services, along with the popularity of hybrid work models, are changing the way and where bookkeepers operate. Many take the opportunity to reorganize their daily tasks or plan for the “next normal”. For example, 20% of accountants want to spend more time on client analysis and strategy, while 34% are actively preparing for more remote work in the future.

As you prepare for the New Year, set your own work-life priorities. Do you want to try living in a new city? Work with colleagues from other departments? Now is the perfect time to adjust your situation. To achieve these goals, what do you need to change, automate, or adjust in the way you deliver your work to your clients?

Even more accountants (69%) plan to expand their teams despite staff shortages in all areas. Future-ready companies hire talent with new skills and non-traditional experience. These digital natives can make the most of automation to focus on more consultative work.

At the same time, accountants provide existing employees with tools and training to add value. Developing existing staff is a priority for 50 percent of bookkeepers. Do you count yourself among them?

Accounting may be a 500-year-old practice, but that doesn’t mean it should be in the past. Modern accountants provide more than columns of debits and credits – they paint a real-time picture of a company’s financial health – and they do it with data and information powered by technology and new flows. who can better meet or exceed customers. Needs. This change most certainly justifies a revised definition of “accountant”.

So when the balloon drops on New Years Eve, pick it up and run with it. Adjust your work style, invest in your team, redefine the way you serve customers and become a newly redefined YOU this planning season.


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