Accounting firms are pushing ahead with game changing tech innovations following decades in the digital slow lane, a new report has shown.
The movement towards more technology investment for accountants is being driven by the need for efficiency, streamlined workflows and added value to their business, according to the latest survey from accounting technology provider LeaseQuery.
LeaseQuery’s Annual Accountants Survey: Top Challenges & Tech Wishlist polled 237 accounting professionals across public, private, non-profit and government organizations on their technology maturity, wishlist and areas for growth. When asked about accountants’ top priorities, improved accuracy and compliance was the top choice, followed by lower costs and faster delivery. It’s no coincidence that technology is built to improve all of these pain points.
“Automation has become the accountant’s best friend,” says Sarah O’Sullivan, Director of Product Accounting at LeaseQuery. “Accountants are facing mounting pressure to deliver more accurate results in less time, and they are increasingly turning to technology to help scale their work. This, in turn, drives high expectations for ROI for this technology.”
Accountants, she added, have a long automation wishlist, with data entry, reconciliation and analysis at the top. Automation eliminates the need for manual tasks, from data entry to time tracking, enabling accountants to devote more time to higher-value work. As accountants’ roles become more analytical, automation is a critical strategy to meeting those needs.
While fewer than a majority of the responding accountants included billing and time tracking on their automation wishlist, 80% indicated that they currently use technology to support expenses and accounts payable, and 77% noted they already use technology for billing and accounts receivable tasks.
“The maturity of accounting technology is clearly progressing,” said Jennifer Booth, VP of Accounting with the vendor, “However, massive opportunities to gain efficiencies remain. For instance, one of the first measures of technology maturity is cloud adoption, and only 38% are fully transferred to working in the cloud at this point.”
Accountants are investing more resources and attention to battle emerging and persistent cybersecurity threats, LeaseQuery’s survey shows. The accounting industry continues to take security seriously, with 40% saying they plan to invest more in cybersecurity protections in the year ahead. The cloud is generally regarded as the safest option for data storage, which ties back to the need for accountants – both from industry-specific organizations and accounting firms – to migrate their data, which is the first critical step in the digital transformation journey.