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Better Productivity for Your Practice – Part 1: Five ways accountants are using technology to boost productivity

written by Editor, 7 April 2016

Guest blog by, Ian Cooper, Digita Business Development Manager

Productivity

Ian Cooper’s 3 part blog piece will uncover ways in which accountants in practice can boost their efficiency through technology advances. Ian will also address the barriers to productivity which practices may face and finally in the 3rd blog he will showcase the recent survey results carried out by Thomson Reuters.

Recent advances in technology are making it easier for accountants to boost efficiency and productivity within their practice. Here are five advancements accountants are using to achieve some real gains in productivity.

Cloud and portals

Practices who have embraced the cloud and offer client portals give themselves, and their clients, the ability to retrieve essential documents when they’re needed – 24/7. The obvious benefit is the reduction in admin’ time – no more hunting for and resending documents that have been mislaid, for example.

Another major benefit is that being able to exchange documents, access software and send through essential information through a personal portal can really help to improve client relationships. Indeed, clients now expect this type of service. They receive it every day, from their bank, so why not their accountant?

“Cloud accounting has changed how we do business. Clients are really attracted to real-time accounting and being able to access their financial information whenever and wherever they are. All they really need is an Internet connection, and they’re away.

“Working totally in the Cloud is helping me to attract the next generation of young entrepreneurs who are excited about utilising the latest technologies to grow their business. It’s also helping me to carve out a niche in the technology sector supporting like-minded people who are looking for that perfect work-life balance.”
Alex Falcon Huerta – Soaring Falcon Accountancy

Automation

Accountants are beginning to take time to review manual processes in their firms and using new technology to achieve the same results more quickly. The more accountants automate, the more important dashboards become, offering clear and concise ways to review data. As a business owner, accountants need to make sure they’re clear on what reports are essential but good dashboards mean more time spent on data interpretation and less time on data input.

Productivity

Integration

Investing in integrated systems means accountants don’t have to switch between different software as information is automatically shared across the board. When a client informs of a change of address, for example, it should be simple. But not if it means updating their details in every individual component of an accountancy package. Corporate tax, personal tax, practice management system, marketing database – the list goes on. Integration saves a lot of time and money and offers more efficient working practices by eliminating duplication and time wasted re-keying in client and staff information numerous times. For a large firm, this could save in thousands of hours over the course of a year.

“Switching to Digita’s corporation tax solution has actually been the main driver for what is now a total software review,” Greg adds. “Integration with Digita Practice Management will make our processes much more automated, meaning our time costs will definitely come down. This will not only increase our profit margins but, just as importantly, will result in cost-savings for our clients.”
Greg Langley, Tax Manager at David Jones Accountants

Mobile technology

The use of smart phones is now synonymous with modern life. It’s also now part and parcel of business life. More and more accountants are offering mobile services to staff and clients alike. And, like cloud and portals, this added-value service offering can really help to improve relationships and client retention.

Inbox alerts

Accountants spend so much time in their Outlook Inbox, which means it’s a great place to alert staff (and clients) of any actions that are due to be completed. For example, a partner within a firm can receive an automatic notification when a client exceeds a WIP or exposure limit. This alert can pre-empt awkward fee conversations before they become an issue.

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