Top four reasons accountants must invest in technology

Group of business people on laptops
Steven Deutsch By Steve Deustch, CEO of Wesleyan Bank and Syscap

21 March 2017

Widespread adoption of cloud computing services and mobile apps have signalled a new era for CAs.  Steve Deutsch, Chief Executive of Wesleyan Bank, outlines four key reasons why accountancy firms must invest in technology to safeguard their future.

According to a survey conducted by online software provider Xero, there remains a gap between accountancy firms who are willing to change with the times compared to those who are actually embracing digital trends.

70% of accountants believe having proficient knowledge of technology and automation in finance is crucial to their success within the next five years. Alarmingly 22% feel the extent of digitisation will be so great they will need to leave the sector unless they learn new tech skills by the end of 2020.

Be ready for changing legislation

The Government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) scheme, set to launch in April 2018, is set to end the days of ‘spreadsheet accounting’. As well as preparing their clients for the shift to quarterly filing, accountants should seek to adopt a digital-first model to fundamentally change the way they do business and interact more efficiently with their clients.

Accountancy firms that prosper will ultimately be the ones who can keep pace with digital innovations while providing value-added services.

Failing to keep on top of evolving technological trends could have major implications for accountants in 2017. Here are our top four reasons why accountants should invest in technology to safeguard their future.

1. Beat off competition

Research compiled by business software company Exact has revealed that the number of UK accountants implementing digital solutions has almost tripled in the last 12 months.

The impact of this has been less time spent on paper-based administration, more streamlined business processes through greater integration of systems. and increased flexibility. These efficiency benefits can be passed directly onto clients so it’s essential to ensure that your firm can do the same to stay ahead of your competitors.

2. Meet rising client expectations

Exact’s findings highlight that the most critical service differentiation that SMEs now demand from accountants is speed.

From cloud-based services, mobile apps and business analytics solutions, modern technology can transform productivity by replacing inefficient paper-based forms and manual processes.

Integrated systems provide faster access to critical data to enable accountants to respond faster to client queries and allow them to work with greater flexibility to achieve a better work-life balance.

3. Drive growth by providing value-added services

Accountancy firms that prosper will ultimately be the ones who can keep pace with digital innovations while providing value-added services that clients are willing to pay more for.

From providing access to real-time financial data complemented with more sophisticated analysis to include business intelligence and benchmarking, clients will be more willing to put their trust in accountants to improve their firm’s performance.

Technology is no longer a barrier for accountants who wish to compete with bigger, more established practices or emerging FinTech players.  But deciding how to fund significant investments must be considered carefully – choosing the wrong option could restrict your ability to access the latest technology when you need it the most.

4. Technology for business growth

IT budgets can often constrain a business’s growth due to the need to carefully manage cash flow and available working capital, and paying for new investments upfront can be cost prohibitive. In contrast asset finance products from trusted alternative providers, such as Wesleyan Bank, can help.

These flexible, payment over time solutions can be used to fund all types of IT asset investment and by spreading the cost over a fixed term, can fund major IT projects and ensure that accountants do not have to fall behind in the new wave of technology developments.

The key question accountancy practices must ask themselves is not have they considered purchasing new IT equipment and technologies, but can they afford not to?

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About the author

Steve Deutsch is Chief Executive Wesleyan Bank Ltd & Syscap Ltd. Steve has been a key member of the Wesleyan Group's Executive since 2005, undertaking a number of roles in that time across the Group including Operations Director, Commercial Director and COO - Sales.

Since late 2012 he has been responsible for driving the growth of Wesleyan Bank, including the acquisition of Syscap in 2015. With near 30 years experience in Financial Services across a range of roles Steve leads a strong team who together are seeking to significantly develop and grow an already successful specialist business.

About the company

Part of Wesleyan Group of Companies, Wesleyan Bank provides commercial finance for accountancy practices.

Whether you're looking for competitive spread payment solutions for tax or longer term finance plans for new equipment, office refurbishment or even the latest version of your accounting software, Wesleyan Bank is here to help.

When it comes to short-term cash flow or investing in major acquisitions for your accountancy practice, Wesleyan Bank can help you acquire the funding you require to flourish and grow so all you have to worry about is serving your customers and meeting your business objectives.

As a Member Discount Partner of ICAS , we pride ourselves on our expertise of the accountancy sector. We can also work with you to provide our commercial finance products to your own clients, supporting you in providing added value and additional services to your portfolio.

This blog is one of a series of articles from our commercial partners.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of ICAS.


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