Accountancy is often viewed as a profession bound by tradition. So new research, which reveals that accountancy firms are reluctant to embrace digital technology, will only confirm that stereotype.
The study showed that accountancy firms are slower to implement cloud-based services and use digital technology compared to the corporate sectors.
The “IT in Practice Survey” suggests that three out of ten accountancy practices will be using cloud-based technology by the end of 2013, compared to seven out of ten UK businesses.
But are Scottish accountancy firms really the dusty and traditionally-run practices that the stereotype would have us believe?
The UK survey does highlight the need for accountancy to move with the times. Businesses, like all consumers, expect to be able to access the information they want, when they want. Long gone are the days of businesses waiting for year-end accounts to access financial performance.
In the same way that more and more of us do our personal banking online, companies need to make instant strategic decisions and have up-to-date financial information.
Furthermore, it’s important that accountants don’t shroud financial figures in mystery, but instead educate clients so they can undertake their own tax and business planning.
The good news for Scottish companies is the technology does exist to provide secure automatic bank feeds and real time monitoring of performance. Indeed some of that technology was born here in 2007.
One example is Xero Online Accounting, which uses cloud technology to enable businesses to access their accounts from anywhere at any time.
Increasing numbers of Scottish businesses want to do their accounting online – especially among small to medium size (SMEs) which are such a big part of our economy. But bigger firms can utilise digital accountancy applications too.
Many Scottish accountancy firms are now waking up to the increasing demand for digital platforms from clients, especially SMEs. And if you still don’t believe the face of accountancy is changing, come and meet our team – we only employ one man! • Charlotte Gillet is a business improvement strategist at Mint Accounting