How is Technology Changing Accounting?

When one thinks about accounting, they probably think about bookkeeping and paperwork, not technology. In this ever-changing technological world, accounting is one part of the business sector that has had to learn to keep up with new advances.

Online Services

Many small businesses and other companies have taken advantage of outsourcing their bookkeepers and accountants by having everything done online. Having an online accountant makes it possible for business owners to save time by not having to learn how to use software themselves. It can also be a “green” practice. Since everything is done online, there is much less paper used. Many online accountants receive all of the information they need in order to do the books via e-mail or by using online information sharing software such as Dropbox. Online accountants generally handle the following:

  • business bank reconciliationsonline accounting
  • credit card management
  • accounts receivable
  • accounts payable
  • sales tax
  • payroll


Joining the Cloud

One reason it is possible to have an online accountant and do all of the bookkeeping online, is because of the cloud. In its simplest terms, the cloud is described as the ability for software and services to run over the Internet as opposed to one’s computer. Some examples of popular cloud services include: Netflix, Google Drive, and Yahoo Mail. The world of accounting has joined in and is utilizing this technology now more than ever. In fact, according to Forbes, the cloud is one of the reasons many companies are dumping their on-premise software, meaning companies are using once-popular software such as QuickBooks, less and less.

More Influential Technologies

Besides online accountants and bookkeepers operating via the cloud, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has recognized other technologies that are changing the profession. These include:

  • mobile
  • big data
  • cyber security
  • payment systems
  • virtual and augmented reality
  • digital service delivery
  • social

According to a survey of over 2,100 ACCA and Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), 81 percent of them expect to see great changes in their fields. Eighteen percent of the respondents feel they will be facing a complete transformation while only one percent stated these technologies will not cause any change at all.

The Future of the Accountant

What do all of these changes mean for the future accountant? Does this mean the profession will cease to exist in the near future? Even though a lot of bookkeeping is currently being done online via the cloud, it is not erasing the need for accountants. Many experts agree that accountants will always be needed but that they will have to acquire new skills in order to keep up with the constantly changing world of advanced technology.

While the world of the number-crunching accountant is ever-changing due to many technological advances, it doesn’t mean there will be less accountants in the world. It simply means businesses will have more options to choose from when it comes to handling their books.