The world of accounting has come a long way from the days of dusty ledgers and manual calculations. Evolving technologies and new digital tools — including artificial intelligence, data analytics, and forecasting tools — have changed the way accountants work. And to meet today’s client expectations, it’s essential for companies to keep up with the times.
As accounting professionals look to elevate their existing practices and contribute positively to the industry, it’s critical to take both an individual and team approach to refining practices. Below, we’ll dive into some of the top strategies for improving accounting practices and the results companies can achieve by adopting them.
The Current State of Accounting
The financial landscape is constantly shifting with new regulations, technologies, and market dynamics coming into play. A recent report by Deloitte shows that more than one-third of CEOs want their CFOs to focus on strategy and performance management in accounting processes. That’s a testament to the ever-growing and evolving significance of accounting in today’s business world.
Despite the increased focus on accounting, businesses continue to face challenges in enhancing processes. These include:
- Regulatory complexity: The intricate and ever-changing regulatory environment — including financial regulations, tax codes, and compliance requirements — has become more demanding on businesses, leaving companies scrambling to align their financial strategies with evolving legal standards.
- Data security and cyber risks: Safeguarding financial data has become paramount for the majority of organizations. CFOs and financial professionals must continuously strive to secure financial data from relentless cyber threats.
- Data precision and integrity: Precision is the heart of accounting. Any error in financial records can cascade into severe consequences, including financial losses and credibility damage.
- Talent dearth: The accounting industry is grappling with a substantial talent gap. One source found that 84% of CFOs continue to face significant talent shortages. The scarcity of skilled workers can lead to overburdened staff, decreased productivity, and recruitment challenges, ultimately affecting the financial management of businesses.
- Inefficient processes and outdated systems: Inefficiency often looms over organizations who still rely on outdated, manual accounting procedures and legacy solutions. These systems are ill-suited for contemporary demands, resulting in delays, errors, and resource wastage.
Individual Accountability Matters
Despite the myriad of accounting challenges faced by organizations, there’s a driving force behind improving accounting standards: individual accountability. It’s all about the people involved — from accountants to CFOs. When individuals take responsibility for their actions, they’re helping to foster a culture of honesty, transparency, and ethics.
How can companies and professionals make this happen? Here are some strategies to consider:
Embrace cutting-edge technology
Traditional management can be greatly enhanced by modern technology such as AI and automation tools. The use of accounting software like QuickBooks and Xero has become almost a necessity. By leveraging these tools, organizations can increase data management efficiency, reduce errors, and save time.
Invest in continuous professional development
Continuous learning improves accountants’ ability to meet client expectations. Whether it’s attending webinars, obtaining certifications, or simply keeping an eye on the latest updates, investing in ongoing professional development is a smart move.
Advocate for transparency and ethics
It’s essential to advocate for transparency and ethics across the enterprise. A recent study by Ernst and Young found that 83% of investors consider corporate culture and governance as significant factors in building trust and making investment decisions. Promoting ethical conduct within organizations and encouraging it from team members not only fosters trust, but also protects companies from legal troubles.
Automate and streamline processes
While technology can’t replace the human touch, it can help streamline processes. Automating repetitive tasks, such as data entry, frees up accountants’ time to focus on value-added activities. According to one source, 71% of organizations plan to automate accounting processes to realize the benefits mentioned above.
Collaborate and communicate
Clear communication and collaboration are key to a successful accounting department. Platforms such as Slack, Teams, or Canopy foster teamwork and ensure that everyone is on the same page. In fact, 25% of CFOs feel that high-performing CFOs and accounting professionals are “strong communicators” and can easily collaborate with others.
Create a Better Financial Future with Canopy
Accounting’s role in the workplace continues to evolve, and it’s critical for companies and professionals to adapt. By embracing technology like Canopy and focusing on individual accountability, you can easily navigate every change you encounter in the accounting landscape. Technological readiness enables you to raise your standards and adapt to changing dynamics with resilience and confidence.
Discover how Canopy increases both individual accountability and overall confidence by starting a free trial today.