What is emerging technology in accounting?
It's no secret that emerging technology has revolutionized many industries, and accounting is no exception. The quickly evolving landscape can be daunting as a business leader or accountant, but don't worry—understanding these new technologies and integrating them into your practice (and your clients' businesses) is easier than you may think.
What is emerging technology?
Emerging technology in accounting is the use of new, innovative technologies to automate, streamline, and improve the management of financial data and operations. It includes a range of tools such as predictive analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), cloud computing and storage, automation, blockchain technology, robotics process automation (RPA) and more.
These technologies offer the potential for tremendous gains in efficiency, accuracy, security and cost savings.
How can emerging technology help your clients?
By leveraging emerging technology, accountants and businesses can benefit from a host of advantages such as:
- Automation. Automate mundane and repetitive tasks such as invoice processing or data entry.
- Efficiency. Streamline and accelerate processes such as account reconciliation or data analysis.
- Cost savings. Reduce overhead costs associated with manual processes.
- Data accuracy. Increase the accuracy of financial information.
- Security. Protect sensitive data from internal and external threats.
- Scalability. Quickly scale up or down depending on your clients’ needs.
Although we are still in the early stages of many emerging technologies, business performance is becoming increasingly dependent on a company's ability to leverage technology to drive efficiency and access new capabilities. For this reason, it's essential for accountants to understand these technologies and the opportunities—and risks—they pose for their clients.
You don't need to become a computer scientist to advise your clients on these technologies, but you should learn enough to discuss them on a high level with business owners and technology decision-makers.
What emerging technologies are most impactful for accountants?
As a business leader or accountant, knowledge of the emerging technologies that are most impactful for accounting is an invaluable asset. So let's explore some of the most popular and powerful tools available to help you make more informed decisions about which technology is best suited for your business and clients.
Power BI for data visualizations
Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence platform offering powerful data visualizations to help business leaders, accountants, and advisors make more informed decisions.
The user interface is relatively intuitive for anyone familiar with Microsoft Excel. It also integrates with other Microsoft products and provides developers with sample code and application program interfaces (APIs) to enable embedding the Power BI dashboard into other software products.
With Power BI, accountants can quickly transform their clients' raw data into dynamic and interactive visuals, giving them insight into trends, outliers, and correlations they may not have seen before. This allows them to uncover hidden opportunities and better understand the data so they can help clients make more informed decisions.
If you have not looked into business intelligence software in the past, you might assume that such an advanced tool would be cost-prohibitive for small businesses. But Power BI is very affordable and offers different pricing levels depending on your needs. For example, Power BI Pro is just $9.99 per month per user and provides users with self-service analytics tools that allow them to visualize data with live dashboards and reports.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is a powerful and versatile tool that can be invaluable for accountants, particularly those offering advisory and consulting services to their clients.
An ERP system brings together all of a company's day-to-day business activities, including accounting, finance, procurement, project management, risk management, compliance, supply chain operations, budgeting, and forecasting. When an organization's business processes are tied together in one system, data can flow between them, eliminating data duplication and providing a single source of truth.
By utilizing the latest ERP technologies, accountants can help their clients streamline data management processes and optimize workflow. This will save them time, allowing them to focus more on providing valuable insights and services to their clients.
The cost of implementing and maintaining an ERP system varies depending on the number of users and level of customization. However, a study from SoftwarePath found that theERP systems typically offer multiple modules, and every business doesn't need all modules. So helping your clients determine which ones they need can help them right-fit the features and budget.
As an accountant, it's essential to be up-to-date on the latest best practices and technologies that can improve your clients' financial efficiency. Emerging technologies like Power BI and ERP software can be especially valuable in supporting your consulting and advisory work with clients.
If you want to level up your skills and learn more about these and other emerging technologies in the industry, check out our Consulting Services: Emerging Technology Library. You can earn 13.5 hours of CPE while equipping yourself with the knowledge to assist your clients with data-driven decision-making.
Becker CPE Consulting Services: Emerging Technology Library >