A recent ride on the Northern line, particularly if you alight at Old Street station, may have alerted you to the rise in cloud accounting software through the many Xero ads. Accounting software has advanced so much alongside cloud technology, reshaping the the role of accountants.

Technology heralds the death of many things, including job roles, however cutting edge accounting software does not eradicate the need for human accountants.

Accountant

Bionic accountants, part software part human

Modern accountancy companies have had to embrace technology to create more efficient systems in which to work. Contractor accountants 3 Wise Bears use Xero and FreeAgent technology, stating that real-time information and use of cloud tech is essential for freelance or contractor accounting.

Accounting software, particularly cloud software, is becoming an extension of the modern accountant. In a digitally connected world it becomes essential to have access to this real-time information to enable quick, informed business decisions. Such cloud-based accounting software plays into the idea of the on-demand economy, allowing companies to keep track of their finances in the global and fast-paced business world.

Cloud accounting advances

This year it suggested that almost all accounting will move to the cloud. Many other industries have already made that move and it is time that accounting takes the full plunge. Business demand means that accounting has to engage in the age of real-time information – an accountant who does not make information available to companies when they need it is likely to fall behind.

It is also predicted that optical character recognition (OCR) is going to help the efficiency of accounting by digitising documents quickly – cutting out the middle man, or accountant, having to type up information. As this technology improves it will be used more widely in the accountancy industry.

Online accounting in action

Alongside the movements in cloud accounting software there have also been shifts in business banking. As business becomes more global the need for international payments and banking on the go has risen. To fill this market gap, and to resolve the issues of large bank overheads with currency conversion, online banking systems have been developed. Regent FE offers a multi currency account alongside daily information on exchange rates.

Such banking systems can work in conjunction with accounting software to allow SMBs, freelancers and potentially bigger businesses to work more quickly.

The changing role of accountants

Like within many job roles, accountants are having to adapt what it means to be an accountant. This is not necessarily a bad thing – the time saved due to accounting software allows for accountants to take on more active roles and offer more insight into a business’s finances.

The role of accountant is becoming increasingly similar to that of a financial adviser. Accountants must be highly specialised in a certain field in order to become as useful, and indispensable, to businesses as possible. This specialisation can be a particular industry or a type of work – such as freelance and contractors or SMBs. If accountancy moves in this direction, which it will have to to survive, small businesses that hire accountants will get more for their money and accountants will be specialised and more active within the businesses they worth with.