As we know, the Covid-19 pandemic is significantly impacting all aspects of society, reshaping how we live, work and play.
In the business world, the pandemic is driving seismic shifts in the operational approach and strategies of many industries.
The bookkeeping and accounting sector is experiencing these shifts in the form of new working paradigms, acceleration of digital transformation, automation of processes, and recognition that remote working works.
New Working Models
The unfortunate spread of the coronavirus is rapidly accelerating remote working, making it the norm today. Businesses large and small rapidly shifted to remote working as Covid-19 stay-at-home measures took effect in March 2020. However, even before Covid-19, remote working was trending upward. Over the last 5 years, remote work has grown 44% over time.
Post Covid-19, it is expected many professionals, including bookkeepers and accountants, will continue working remotely. A survey found that 57% of SME owners said they will likely maintain increased remote working options for employees in the long-term.
This means that in-house, outsourced, professional service accountants and bookkeepers alike will continue to adapt workflows so that they can be seamlessly executed away from the office whilst managing the risks this also brings. Communication will also continue to shift to digital channels such as video conferencing, messaging and email.
Acceleration of digital transformation
In a post-Covid-19 world, we will see continued acceleration of the digital transformation of bookkeeping and accounting functions. This includes remote access to financial data and the utilisation of smartphones.
Advances in fintech cloud technology that allow anytime, anywhere access to data are making it a fixture in accounting and bookkeeping. In the Covid-19 environment, enterprises are accelerating adoption of cloud-based accounting technology to meet the business imperative of mobile access to data, driven by the surge in remote working. According to Accountancy Age, 78% of small businesses solely relied on cloud technology in 2020.
Increasing adoption of cloud-based accounting platforms is helping accountants and bookkeepers drive business continuity for their clients and businesses. According to a global survey of accounting professionals, 62% of firms who felt they are responding to Covid-19 successfully are more likely to be using cloud-based technology. The survey also found that firms with at least one cloud system in place prior to the Covid-19 pandemic fared far better than firms that didn’t have any cloud systems in place.
Accountants and bookkeepers who use cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting subscription services to automatically connect bank accounts, credit card transactions, upload invoices and expenses, are providing a clear picture of financial performance more quickly and freeing up low level transactional time to help the businesses they serve make more informed strategic decisions.
Cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting subscription services will continue gaining momentum as an affordable way to help organisations and businesses improve business operations, save on infrastructure costs and gain the flexibility to scale up or down with market conditions.
Automation of processes
Accountants and bookkeepers are turning to technology to automate accounting, bookkeeping, and HMRC filing functions. Automated solutions are helping bookkeepers and accountants streamline processes, speeding them up while delivering improved accuracy and efficiency to business owners.
Many accountant and bookkeeper concerns around the shift to remote working, centre on the issue of remaining productive away from the office. Automating repetitive accounting and bookkeeping processes is helping them boost productivity by speeding these processes up and delivering improved accuracy and efficiency. Furthermore, an increasing amount of these tools are helping manage risk of fraud by building in checks on invoice totals, VAT numbers, matching bank details etc.
As we continue through the pandemic, many business operations and processes will look a lot different. For accounting and bookkeeping, the new normal will include a more permanent shift to remote working, accelerated adoption of cloud-based technologies and increased automation.
But with automation and remote activity comes risk
Cyber threats have increased drastically over the last 5 years. With remote working now the new normal for many businesses on a global scale, there is more opportunity to be targeted by criminals. With new financial systems and software being developed and rolled out to companies, the developers must ensure that strong cyber security is paramount to avoid potential hacks and personal & financial data being both stolen and corrupted by hackers.
As software tends to be updated regularly, are your finance team properly trained to handle the systems, get the most out them and understand the potential cyber risks?
Outsourcing your financial management to EFM
In the day-to-day workflow, it often feels like bookkeepers and accountants are non-value adding overhead for your business. The truth is that these finance experts should be the opposite. High quality and well organised financial systems are key if you want to enjoy strong, controlled, business growth and success in the future, and by having the right skilled and experienced people to utilise those systems ensures you can get the best out of them and let you focus on what is important to you and your plans.
You need the right system and expertise to ensure that you are prepared for whatever may come into your business. A strong outsourced finance team can be an invaluable resource, ensuring a solid financial foundation for your company.
Most business owners don’t have formal accounting or bookkeeping training, which is why it makes sense to hire the right accredited expertise. Most accountants do not have the skills and experience to add value on a growth journey. Similarly, most do not come as a fully cost-effective skilled team.
Business owners can get the bespoke support they need in outsourcing their finance & accounting services from EFM. Our nationwide team of experienced and multi-sector finance professionals range from Financial Controllers, to, Bookkeepers, Credit Controllers & Payroll Managers.
To find out more around how EFMs tailored financial management services can benefit your company, get in touch. Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01582 516300 to set up your free one-hour consultation.