What does a Future-ready accounting firm look like?

To everyone who runs an accounting firm out there, it’s true that the industry suffers from an image problem. However, the good news is that we live in unprecedented times. You are actually well-positioned to initiate a complete transformation of your traditional firm, TODAY, by utilising the wealth of technological tools available. 

What comes to mind when you see the words ‘accounting firm’? 

The layperson will likely conjure up mental images of an office full of well-meaning but unimaginative workers; slow to deliver with bean-counting tendencies. Is this a firm of the future? 

No way.  

Let us introduce you to the golden boy in the toolshed, Artificial Intelligence or AI for short.

Here’s that buzzword again. But wait, here’s the point I am making.

Indeed, ‘AI’ is a buzzword thrown around a lot these days. Sometimes, you get the sense that people are using these terms too broadly, interchangeably; and sometimes even incorrectly. It is only to be expected that many of us have become sceptical. 

Allow us to address some of these inconsistencies and demystify them for you. 

Lesson number one, AI and machine learning are not the same things. 

AI stands for Artificial Intelligence, and refers to the broad science of using machines to mimic the human brain’s cognitive functions.

Machine Learning, on the other hand, is an application of AI. It provides a system with the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience. To go further in-depth, the system will process data by recognising and applying patterns, derive sets of rules (algorithms) based on these patterns, and refine these algorithms based on feedback. 

We believe that AI will impact the Accounting Industry.

In fact, AI IS the future of the accounting industry. 

According to a McKinsey report, 86% of activities performed by accountants can be automated with AI. For one, the processing time for contracts and audits can be reduced from several months to just a few weeks.

This essentially means that your firm can perform routine tasks for lower cost and with greater efficiency. Not only that, but you can focus your firm’s efforts on providing higher-value services to your clients. Effecting a shift from routine work to analytical and advisory work will go a long way towards improving your margins and growing your business. 

The short of it? Spend more time on building important business relationships for your firm and leave the number-crunching to the robots! 

This is how AI will transform your Accounting Firm.

Data management is probably one of the most tedious challenges faced by your accounting firm. Accountants retrieve and archive documents on a daily basis. Traditional firms largely deal with this manually, which always takes more time than necessary. 

AI can eliminate the need for manual document handling processes by auto-tagging these documents for easy storage and accessibility. 

You must be generating financial statements and reports for clients frequently too. We know that these are consolidated by extracting data from various supporting documents, including receipts and invoices. They also have to go through several vetting rounds before they are ready for submission. When done manually, these processes are prone to human error. 

Utilising AI will enable automatic report generation, as well as the digital cross-checking of these reports against supporting documents to quickly verify their accuracy. 

Furthermore, as your business continues to grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to address every single customer query properly and in a timely manner. 

AI-driven virtual assistants can help to streamline your client relationship management operations. AI chatbots can automatically respond to FAQs from clients, allowing you to concentrate on resolving more complex requests.

This is but a glimpse of what an accounting firm of the future can do. There are many more AI use cases for your business that we have yet to tell you about…

AICPA says that 92% of CPAs believe they aren’t future ready. Don’t be one of them. 

The future is now. 

Who or what is Starboard?

We’re a team of programmers and designers — with deep experience in building cloud-based platforms for high-growth companies.

We would like to show you how we start planning for your firm to join the future in both a time and cost-effective manner. 

Click this link to schedule an appointment with us for a walk-through and demo of our platform. Schedule an appointment and we will set something up this or next week, at your convenience. 

Image credit to Austin Distel at: www.distel.com.

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