When you think of accounting, you likely think of a profession known for conservatism and old-school tradition.
Over the years, paper-based general ledgers and accounting methodologies graduated to Excel spreadsheets, then to “canned” accounting software programs, which have now morphed to advanced cloud-based solutions. Technology has quickly turned the accounting profession into one that is now dynamic and fast-paced.
Technology advancements require that accountants be highly agile in order to change and learn as fast as, or faster than their customers. But how do you know if your accountant has embraced technology as a tool? Here’s what to look out for:
Red flag #1 – Your accountant is armed with lots of folders, binders and paper print-outs.
Forgive the (accounting) pun, but this red flag speaks volumes. Do you really want to work with a firm that is still paper-based? While there is still a need for hard copies of certain documents, the majority are now stored more accessibly and safely in the cloud. Accountants that are still using antiquated methodologies will likely be slower in getting your work done and therefore, cost you more time and money.
Red flag #2 – Your accountant is sending Excel documents via email
While Excel is a great tool, the program is not geared for the needs of modern accounting. What can start out as a simple spreadsheet can easily grow to a monster doc that is difficult to understand, use, and prone to errors. Today’s cloud-based accounting systems are not only set up specifically for balancing the books but are are also amazing documentation management and collaboration tools. Having everything in one place makes life easier not only for your accountant, but for you too.
Red flag #3 – Your accountant is more reactive rather than proactive
Accountants that are task oriented are not forward-thinking visionaries. Armed with the right technology, accountants now have the ability to interpret your data and look at trends. These insights give them the ability to be more involved with your business — perhaps even help you make important business decisions. Ideally, you want an accountant who not only keeps your numbers in check but one that also looks at your data and offers good financial advice and smart, strategic recommendations. Technology stipulates that accountants become an important part of your company as a business consultant rather than just the guy/gal that crunches the numbers.
Red flag #4 – Due to <insert reason>, the accounting practice had to close for the day
Whether it be from a snow storm, power-outage, water-main break, etc., your accountant and his/her staff should have the ability to keep the business going remotely from home or anywhere there is Internet access. With the correct technology in place, your accountant should be able to work anytime, anywhere on any device to get the job done.
So how did your accountant fare? If not well, perhaps it is time to find an accountant who embraces the best technology tools in their industry. After all, their success is your success!