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Accounting gets a makeover

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From Daily Pioneer: The transformation of the profession from one on information management to strategy-making is tremendous. An accountant, who was more of a back-end person, has been catapulted to the front

COVID-19 has underscored the fact that the only thing constant in this world is change. Over the years, there has been a huge change in how businesses work and the accounting profession is no different. The transformation of accounting from information management to strategy-making is tremendous, and an accountant who was more of a back-end person has been catapulted to the front.

 Technology is a significant contributor to this transformation as it is credited with a number of other changes in the current business trends and continues to change industries. Various drivers have led to this cultural shift towards adoption of technology in the accounting profession like improvements in regulations, demands of clients, generation change and so on. In fact, technology has led to disruptions in the accounting profession that were hitherto unknown and added the much-needed smart zing to it.

Automation, one of the key trends, and an important aspect of technology, has made the systems more efficient and effective and is also responsible for the revolution in the accounting profession. Transactional entries made manually are now being completed by a software. It encompasses more than just data entry and emphasises on the entire lifecycle of the accounting process, starting from recording, manoeuvring and inferring transactional data. This makes financial management a much-reorganised and simplified process and helps managers take faster decisions by making real-time data accessible.

Rising demand for the automation of accounting services has boosted the accounting software industry, currently valued at $12 billion. It is expected to reach approximately $19.6 billion by 2025, clocking a growth rate of 8.5 per cent. Some of the major accounting software companies include Oracle, Microsoft, Intuit, SAP, Sage and so on.

Most of this modern accounting software is based on cloud technology. Gone are the days when accounting services were based locally, using software hosted on computers’ hard drives. Accountants now store and access data from the cloud instead of a local computer system. So what is cloud anyway? It is nothing but another term for the internet. There are many benefits of using cloud-based accounting systems. Automation of accounting and book-keeping processes improves efficiency by cutting down efforts on routine activities. Access to real-time data anytime and anywhere improves productivity and decision-making abilities. It helps in reduction of costs, creates a paperless environment and helps in smooth integration with other cloud-based solutions. These benefits and many more are motivating businesses to shift to cloud-based accounting services.

According to a survey conducted by the accounting software firm, Sage, around 67 per cent accountants feel that cloud-based services have made their roles easier. But though cloud-based accounting has a number of benefits, it is not devoid of drawbacks. One of the biggest risks is the vendor shutting shop. Over the years, it is a known fact that vendors can be here today and gone tomorrow. This leaves the organisations using their services in a lurch. Second, in case of unavailability of an internet connection, the benefit of real-time access to accounting data is lost. And finally, accounting data on the internet is subject to security breaches. Notwithstanding these risks, the Asia-Pacific region is set to witness the highest growth in the accounting software market as the adaptability of modern technology is higher in this region.

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