It seems like every day, we hear about another industry being threatened by the advancements in technology, but is accounting one of them?
Cloud-based accounting software indeed has risen in popularity in recent years, but Quickbooks and Xero are no replacement for living, breathing professionals — and here’s why:
#1 — Location freedom
Before we dive into the main reasons accounting software won’t replace traditional accountants, let’s take a moment to think about how it can enhance and improve their services: location freedom.
Whilst you may sometimes want to sit down face-to-face with your accountant, using cloud software means you need not choose a professional based primarily on location.
It also allows far greater flexibility and convenience, which is certainly conducive to a healthy working relationship.
#2 — A small tax bill
Granted, accounting software can help maintain accurate records and automate calculations for your tax return. But it won’t help you take advantage of the latest lucrative tax breaks and incentives.
Tax regulations change all the time, and staying on top of them can feel like a full-time job in itself. A software program might help you get the numbers right on your return, but it won’t spot new opportunities to save a hefty chunk on your bill. Only a living, breathing accountant can do that!
#3 — Advisory
Accounting software takes care of much of the ‘grunt work’: the calculations, the forecasts and so on. What cloud accounting programs can’t do, however, is offer advisory services.
A computer simply doesn’t have the business experience, critical thinking ability and financial acumen of a real-life accountant. The software can crunch the numbers, but it can’t offer counsel.
You might think that the COVID-19 pandemic had businesses turning increasingly towards AI accountants, but in reality, this period of economic hardship has simply underscored the importance of advisory accountants.
Businesses have been forced to navigate significant and sudden changes in law, initiatives, deductions and the shifting economic climate.
Accountants have proven invaluable in helping entrepreneurs to navigate these ever-changing waters. The pandemic has brought us into unprecedented economic times, and as the world continues to recover, advisory services will become more necessary than ever.
Consequently, more and more accountants are now focusing on offering advisory services and acting more like business partners than processors.
An experienced accountant can leverage their experience and business acumen to offer valuable advice and insights to their clients. If Quickbooks or Xero could do that, the monthly subscription fee would be significantly higher.
In that scenario, it may be a good idea to drop the non-performers.
The same principle applies to all other expenses and services. If you pay for things and they don’t end up improving your business or what you offer, these may be expenses worthy of the chopping block.
#4 — Accessibility
Rather than replacing human accountants, cloud accounting software may even render accounting services more accessible to startups and small businesses.
Business owners can use software to handle the grunt work for a smaller fee, leaving more funds to invest in interpreting the numbers.
Traditional accountants will not be replaced, but rather the advancement of AI will enhance their abilities.
Cloud accounting software is undoubtedly helping to enhance and transform the work of traditional accountants. But there is no danger of human professionals being eclipsed by technology.
Accounting software is a means to an end — and an effective one at that — but not an end in itself. As accounting software is increasingly able to take care of some of the industry’s more menial tasks, the role of accountants will not be eclipsed but will instead shift more towards an advisory one.
Accounting software is helpful for business owners, but there is truly no substitute for the intelligent financial insight of a professional accountant.
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