Making accountancy digital: the technology clients and employees are expecting as standard

Finance professionals are detail-orientated and risk-averse. They are extremely thorough in their work and are analytical. This is what makes them good at business.

But this sometimes overly cautious attitude is a contributing factor that has seen the accounting industry be overall slower to adopt new technology.

This technology will reduce costs and make their work more accurate, efficient and the business more desirable to clients and talent. It’s essential that all accountancy firms now have a digital plan to adopt and adapt to new systems, or they will be left behind.

Digital Decoded: 24 February – 31 March 2022

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What do clients and employees expect?

A new client or employee won’t want to move to an organisation with less advanced processes than what they are used to working with. Expectations these days will be that businesses:

  • Continually look to learn and develop their systems, are adaptable and have a forward-thinking mindset.
  • Will work remotely with employees and clients with appropriate communication systems in place, allowing everyone to stay connected.
  • Have intuitive tools in place so that work can be done efficiently and automation is put in place where possible to free up time for higher-level work.
  • Have synchronicity between the tools and systems used, aligning with the business’ goals.
  • Have systems in place that reduce risk as much as possible – ensuring the security of the business and the protection of data.

What technology needs to be in place?

People expect to have the ability to communicate, visibility on data and the ability to deal with their money all in an instant, and the technology is available to be able to do all of these things conveniently.

Online banking

The primary and latest features that online banking offers:

  • Up-to-date account activity
  • Search functionality for transactions
  • Instant payments and money transfers
  • Monthly spending is split by category for easy visibility of different types of costs
  • Different pots to arrange your money into to help reach savings goals or keep money separate for things like tax bills
  • Greater security with account and fraud alerts with the ability to instantly freeze your card from your phone 
  • Access with face or touch ID
  • 24-hour access to customer service
  • Online statements
  • Mobile cheque deposit – the ability to pay in a cheque just using your phone

Communication platforms

An accountancy business should be looking to have communication tools that allow:

  • Private and group messaging and instant chat
  • Collaborative project and task management
  • A client relationship management system
  • Video calling and meetings
  • Access to online learning and internal updates, blogs and videos
  • Marketing and social media management tools   

Accounting software

Features that you should be looking for in your accountancy software:

  • A user-friendly system with good customer support
  • Integrated billing, invoicing and inventory management
  • The ability to identify and prevent errors with functionality like automatic calculation
  • Easy connectivity between all users
  • Excellent levels of and reputation for security
  • Compatible with sending digital tax returns for Making Tax Digital

Making Tax Digital

Compatible accounting software is crucial to send digital tax returns for Making Tax Digital. Your digital records don’t all have to be held on one piece of software, but there must be links in place. HMRC’s ambition is to become one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world. Making Tax Digital is making fundamental changes to the way the tax system works – transforming tax administration so that it is:

  • more effective
  • more efficient
  • easier for taxpayers to get their taxes right

VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover below £85,000 will be required to follow the Making Tax digital rules for their first return starting on or after April 2022. Self-employed businesses and landlords with annual business or property income above £10,000 will need to follow the rules for Making Tax Digital for Income Tax from 6 April 2024.

Digital Decoded: 24 February – 31 March 2022

Join us for this six-part webinar series to get the practical understanding you need right now to start capitalising on the digital revolution in your day to day work – whether you’re working in a finance team or running your own business.

Register Now

Further reading

Sophie Cross is the Editor of Freelancer Magazine and a freelance writer and marketer at Thoughtfully.

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