image-accountingPerfect together describes the relationship between the accounting profession and information technology. If you think about all the job categories that have been positively impacted and enhanced by the power of information technology, accounting would be near the top. Accountants are professionals in whom individuals and organizations place an enormous amount of trust with some of their most important and private financial matters. In addition to being an individual who offers privacy, security and integrity, the qualities that make a good accountant include: a knack with numbers, a detail orientation, and strong organizational skills.

Technology helps any organization manage data and numbers more effectively in a very detailed and organized fashion. We have identified six key benefits that the information technology revolution continues to deliver to the accounting profession. No wonder accountants consider technology to be their best friend.

Speed: Accountants gain efficiencies (and maybe even sleep some normal hours during tax season) with speed. Computer technology advances always deliver more speed. That will continue, allowing accountants to accomplish more in shorter periods of time. Advancements in software that allow transactions to record themselves are moving toward “real time” uploading of data to software applications, saving even more time. It is like accountants are now driving through every toll on the GSP in the EZ Pass lane!

Accuracy: “Garbage in, garbage out” is how the expression goes, but information technology advances have allowed accountants and CPAs to have a much stronger hold on data accuracy. QuickBooks and other applications used by businesses and their accountants now have built-in checks to minimize incorrect posting, etc. Accountants are better at predicting outcome than any bookie hanging around Monmouth Racetrack.

Flexibility: As tax and other laws change, or the circumstances of clients change, software used by businesses and accountants are constantly patched and updated in order to allow the profession to be nimble and fast to react to regulatory changes. Everything from credit card processing now done with a swipe to the ability to send invoices online and eliminating paper has increased the flexibility of the profession. Soon they will be as flexible as the Hot Yoga instructor now in business on every Main Street in New Jersey.

Security: Privacy, security and compliance are expected antes in the world of finances and accounting. Information technology has facilitated that as well. The ability to send documents via email in an encrypted fashion and to get documents signed electronically has been a big benefit to the profession. Additionally, advancements in hardware firewalls and group security policies put in place on networks have increased network security. Real-time, secure information exchange is here, and it is more secure than the tarmac at Newark Airport.

Mobility: Accountants may have taken Joni Mitchell’s advice and looked at the cloud from both sides now! Data as well as email stored in the cloud has allowed accountants to work from anywhere and some to actually enjoy a meal with their families during their busy periods. Even more importantly though, it has facilitated competition in the profession, allowing smaller players to go after bigger businesses and for the smart CPA to work from the Jersey shore when he/she has the need for some sun and sand.

Analysis: Finally, the computer technology revolution has made the drudgery work of the accounting profession much easier. The benefit to the smart accounting firm is that technology has allowed them to focus on what delivers the most value to clients. Analytical time and time spent with clients better understanding their businesses can provide higher-order value beyond generating reports and returns.

Technology and the accounting profession really are perfect together! Let IT Radix help you make IT work for your business today!

First published in our August 2015 IT Radix Resource newsletter