Accountants: Your Customers Want You to Embrace Technology

embrace technology

In 1994, Bill Gates famously stated that banks were “dinosaurs.” This same description could easily be applied to the accounting industry today. For too long, many CPAs have been content to offer the traditional suite of accounting services: Tax preparation, audit assistance and occasional financial advice.

This is simply not enough. Small business customers demand (and deserve) more from one of their most trusted financial advisers.

Many accountants are reluctant to embrace new technologies due to fear of additional costs, a learning curve, the possibility that the new technology won’t work the way it’s supposed to and a diminished quality of service. These fears are valid. But with the popularity of DIY online tax preparation sites increasing every day, accountants that fail to embrace new technologies will soon go the way of the dinosaurs.

4 Ways Accountants Can Embrace Technology

The Cloud

By now, you’ve all heard of The Cloud. It might sound like some nebulous technology that only IT firms really use – but it’s not.

The cloud simply refers to hosting programs on an integrated, Internet-based platform that is accessible from anywhere. With the cloud, you and your clients can access programs from any device: desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile.

The cloud will improve your workflow and keep your customers happy.

Online Marketing

Another way that accountants can utilize technology to boost sales is by connecting with their customers online.

If you don’t have a great website that explains your firm and how you can support small business owners, get one right now. Today’s business owners expect you to have an online presence. In fact, they might not trust you if you don’t.

Social media is a great free way to connect with your current and potential customers, announce new products and services and connect with potential partners.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

Keep track of your current and potential customers, electronically track and issue invoices, monitor production and instantly evaluate your business’ performance by utilizing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program.

Salesforce is the biggest name in this space, but there are dozens of different companies that provide this Web-based service.

Strategic Financial Technology Partnerships

As I mentioned earlier, CPAs need to improve and expand their service offerings in order to compete in today’s marketplace. One way to do this is to develop strategic referral partnerships with other players in the financial services industry – especially those that are leveraging emerging technologies.

As one of their most trusted financial advisers with an intimate knowledge of their business finances, it’s natural that your customers might come to you with questions about cash flow, how to pay a tax bill, managing payroll, major financial investments, etc. Though you might not have the interest or resources to provide those services, a partnership with a financial technology company that you can refer them to will improve your own credibility as a forward thinking and trustworthy financial partner.

The small business industry is rapidly changing. I believe that as things continue to change, it’s important that my fellow service providers embrace new technologies and partnerships in order to provide the best value possible for our small business customers.

Embrace Photo via Shutterstock

10 Comments ▼

Rohit Arora


Rohit Arora Rohit Arora, CEO and Co-founder of Biz2Credit, is one of the country's leading experts in small business finance. Since its founding in 2007, Biz2Credit has arranged $800M in small business loans and has helped thousands of entrepreneurs. Rohit was named Crain's NY Business "Entrepreneur of the Year 2011."

10 Reactions

  1. Rohit,

    Indeed, it’s very helpful when, say, a small biz owner uploads his/her receipts to Shoeboxed and have his/her accountants to check on those online. Or, it would be awesome to use SageOne and collaborate with your accountant – in the cloud.

    Those will boost productivity – a lot!

  2. Using technology means faster transactions, larger data storage and less paper. You clearly have nothing to lose except for the fact that you’re going to embrace something unusual. But they’ll get used to it and it will be more beneficial to your business.

  3. Some accounting professionals may believe that they don’t have the skills and experience to suggest changes in operational areas of their client businesses – heck, they often have a hard time doing these things for themselves. However, I would suggest that logic and reason are generally the prevailing factors supporting process improvement – reasoning that is often developed through simple observation in the client operation as well as the firm. Taking the time to understand what the business is doing at each level, and then actually observing those activities and accounting for their effectiveness and error rate, is how professionals can spend quality time in the business and uncover hidden profit potential within the firm and within the client base.
    http://coopermann.com/2013/03/18/philosophy-of-process-improvement-todays-cfo-focusing-on-operations/

  4. The Productivity advantages for accounting professionals are reason enough to adopt cloud services. Imagine Access to all your client’s data anywhere you connect to the internet. You can respond quickly to client’s needs and distinguish yourself as the trusted adviser, helping your clients make informed decisions.

  5. I guess this is also applicable to outsourcing companies that offer finance and accounting services. Of course, they also look for accountants! However, it’s not only the accountants who should embrace technology, but also the outsourcing company itself. What do you think?

  6. Not only accountants, but the general public like us can easily use Excel Formula for our daily calculations and personal budgeting every month. We ought to keep track of our monthly savings and expenses ourselves.

    The Cloud will of course speed up accounting process and is accessible from anywhere and in any platform.

  7. Thanks for Sharing!
    Accounting is the language of business. People with knowledge of accounting can be helpful in a variety of ways in almost every field imaginable. Every single business must have someone to track their money and so do federal agencies. Nice Tips!

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