As the digital revolution continues to drive change within the world of accountancy, accountants find themselves dealing with an increasing number of accounting software programs on a day-to-day basis. Not only must they understand the pros and cons of various types of accounting software to provide recommendations to clients; they must also use a plethora of programs to remain compatible with each client’s software.

Within the span of a day, an accountant may have to work with clients who still use basic spreadsheets, clients who use desktop accounting software, and clients who use internet-based or cloud accounting software. Not only that, those clients may utilise any number of accounting software programs from different software providers. Importing the required data from each of those sources and integrating it on their own system takes skill, the use of multiple software systems, and an excessive amount of time.

It may be tempting to persuade each client to switch to one accounting software program. It would make life so much easier, after all. But this is not always possible. Or ethical. An accounting software program needs to meet the individual needs of the client in order to be practical and beneficial, which is why there are so many different options out there. So, what’s the solution? How do you, as an accountant, deal with the increasingly diverse accounting software landscape?

Australian business embraces the digital revolution

It’s no secret, Australian businesses are engaging with new technologies and moving further into the cloud. In November, Infosys released a report that revealed cloud adoption had officially become mainstream, with 81% of respondents either using or planning to use mission-critical applications within the cloud in the next two years. Of the countries involved in the report, Australia came out on top, with 86% of the country’s surveyed enterprises having used the cloud in their production environment for more than a year.

Meanwhile, last month, research by assurance, tax and advisory firm Grant Thornton found that half of all businesses in Australia were planning to automate business processes in the next year. The study found that most of those companies were looking into automation to lower long-term costs, and to create greater efficiency and better productivity.

As Australian businesses forge ahead with new technologies and cloud adoption, accountants will need to work to keep up. That means investing in cloud accounting software for clients in the cloud, allowing for greater fragmentation with the accounting software world, and staying on top of technological innovation.

Make the right choice

The first step in learning to deal with diversity in the accounting software landscape is to encourage clients to re-evaluate their current accounting system. Work out what their business needs, and find the accounting software solution to suit those needs. While some clients may be better off utilising desktop accounting software, some may be better suited to cloud accounting. Discuss the benefits of moving to the cloud to encourage them to make the switch.

Move to the cloud

If you haven’t moved to the cloud, seriously consider it. Aside from its many other benefits, cloud accounting software allows you access to real-time data from clients within the cloud; while providing easier data integration, reduced data-entry, and better client collaboration. While each client may not utilise the same cloud accounting program just the fact that you’re working within the cloud can make your life that much easier.

Invest in the right tools

There are tools available that can help streamline data collection from multiple accounting software programs. Regardless of the accounting software program the client uses, these tools utilise the cloud to capture the data required within the client’s program, and integrate it within the accountant’s own system. No more laborious manual data entry, no more incompatible client systems; just easy, efficient data integration.

Utilise new technology

Utilising new technology – such as cloud accounting software, data integration tools, and various apps and new technologies – can free up an incredible amount of time. Time that was once spent collecting data and entering it into the system can now be spent elsewhere. That could involve creating new business opportunities or bettering client relationships.

Cloud accounting gives accountants access to big data. Used correctly, that big data can allow accountants to help and advise their clients. Simply by collating and analysing the vast amounts of data at their fingertips, accountants can provide valuable business advice to their clients. This can have the added benefit of making the accountant invaluable in a time of increasing automation within the accountancy sector.

Accountants looking to stay ahead of the game – those who want to remain in control of the increasingly diverse accounting software landscape – have the solutions within easy reach. If you want to find out more about new technology, the cloud, and how it can help you and your clients, download our eBook, 8 ways accounting firms can use cloud technology to empower employees and clients.