Organisations and offices in the accountancy sector are always concerned with tomorrow. Do we still have a right to exist? Will we still be competitive enough to overcome? Could a data breach or privacy scandal already have killed us?
With these kinds of questions, policy makers in the accountancy sector are now working to find solutions that contribute to the challenges of tomorrow. What are these challenges for accountants and what solutions and tools do they offer to be future-proof?
Reducing labour-intensive tasks
When managing financial and tax issues for their clients, auditors typically use a number of repetitive, manual tasks. From data entry to document storage and everything in between. If an auditor can automate many of these tasks through technology, they will find more time and resources to focus on strategic services. By reducing the administrative burden, accounting firms can increase their margins on their managed services or subscription services.
Business processes and services for customers: automate now
The secret to prosperity in the new world of accounting lies in automation. Accountants can automate services for customers in the form of self-service portals and information sharing solutions, reducing their own time spent searching for information. All this leads to a better experience for customers and better margins on existing services by freeing up staff and leaving time to focus on value-added tasks.
Options for automation can also be found in standard business processes, such as contract management. By enabling workflows with information management technology, contracts can be managed more efficiently, from drafting to signing contracts. Automation can also help streamline back-office processes such as onboarding, accounts payable and other typical manual office tasks.
Minimize compliance and audit risks
Audit firms and their clients operate in a world in which the consequences of poor control procedures and failure to comply with regulations can be drastic. A poorly performed audit and a lack of easy access to the necessary information at the very least leads to a depletion of valuable resources and productivity. Perhaps even worse, failure to comply with regulations can cost companies dearly – not only in terms of fines and sanctions, but can also damage a company’s reputation.
Solutions such as M-Files help with compliance-related activities such as audits and CAPAs. A good information environment provides the quality and assurance that customers and regulators expect. Documents need to be retrieved quickly and the different stages of documents need to be tracked thanks to an extensive version history.
At the end of the day, all accountancy firms must maintain full control over the creation, continuous development and access to the documents they manage. Information management should therefore be the cornerstone of an accounting firm’s technological infrastructure. Traditionally, companies in the accountancy sector have been using file-only storage solutions, such as Box, SharePoint and even network folders. This allows accoutants to store documents centrally, but at the same time accepts the limitations surrounding audits. Smart accountants can distinguish themselves with modern information management.
The customer’s expectations are increasing. Although accountancy firms focus on reducing operational costs by streamlining and automating processes, they also know that the way their employees work is changing further. As well as the way employees interact with the customer.
This means that IT solutions must provide for:
Collaborate. Colleagues and customers not only need easy access to documents, they also need to be able to work together easily. For example, in the form of co-authoring.
Security. Security is essential, not only for the customer, but perhaps even more important, for their customers.
Mobile. Employees’ expectations are changing, so document management systems should be able to easily work outside the office without compromising security.
User-friendliness. The solution must be reliable and easy to use, as this makes the staff more productive and reduces overheads.
M-Files is the information management platform that allows accountancy firms to reduce labour-intensive tasks, easily automate towards their customers and reduce risks.