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Ben Withinshaw, Director at Surrey Hills Accountancy

Expense management and various parts of accountancy are stuck in the Stone Age. It’s an industry that many businesses are slightly wary of digitising or automating.

The core method of processing data and crunching numbers hasn’t evolved much since the dawn of business. But if the process ‘works’, it’s understandable that businesses are hesitant to welcome change. ‘Why reinvent the wheel?’ you might say. 

But what if the reinvented wheel saved you time and money, and didn’t carry the risk of manual, human error every time you inputted data?

Changing the face of accounting 

Adjusting behaviours is never an easy feat, especially when it comes down to the important stuff like tracking data to make budgetary decisions. After all, the core of business success lies within the numbers, and what you do, and don’t do, with them. 

Understandably, it can feel a little scary to digitise such an important process. But with digitisation comes automation, control and having all the data you need at your very fingertips. 

Yet, training clients on new ways of working can sometimes be difficult. Something that Ben Withinshaw, Director at Surrey Hills Accountancy is all too familiar with. 

“Sometimes getting clients on board with cloud-based software can be tricky. Some of our clients definitely still exist from an accounting function or have the impression that accounting is the old-school way of doing things. We are looking to support them and provide a better service to them by utilising cloud-based software that exists in the marketplace at the moment.”

Making data-driven, strategic business decisions

Let’s face it. An accountant's job is way more than just inputting lines of data into an Excel spreadsheet. Today, thanks to the advancement of technology replacing tedious jobs, finance and CFOs’ day jobs are being freed up so they can become a strategic partner to the business

And not to scare anyone out there, but an ACCA report on accounting technology trends outlined “Unless accountants embrace technology, they will follow the dinosaur into extinction – individually and as a profession.”

“To [get clients on board with technology], we often talk about the benefits of using cloud-based software, and the fact that not only will it save you money, but you’ll also get a lot more proactive data looking forward,” Ben explained. “This entices them and shows them that they can get more real-time information which can positively influence their business.”

Usually, when we think of technology disrupting industries, there’s the fear that maybe one day robots will take our jobs, or even become our bosses — but the opposite is true for accountants. Instead, technology will allow for more innovation, and the true potential of an accountant and what they can really do, is what clients need to be aware of. 

The latest McKinsey Global Survey on the role of the CFO reports that today’s finance leaders are frequently involved in long-term strategy and management decisions, and two-thirds are involved in digital transformation.

And it doesn’t stop there. Pleo’s report on The State of Business Spending found that 97% of business decision-makers see a dynamic change in the CFO's influence across the business, particularly in operations, marketing and legal teams.

The potential of what an accountant can do for your business shouldn’t end with manual data entry, and it’s a technology that will open the door to more proactive data that will make real changes to your business.

How control increases financial and workplace efficiency

To learn more about why cloud-based software is the way forward for accounting, as well as what the top three tools every finance team should be using, sign up for The new way of finance series to access Ben’s full lesson. Plus, additional lessons from four more forward-thinking finance leaders.

Link to New way of finance sign up

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