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What separates the winners from the losers in accounting


A recent State of the Accountants Report by SmartVault shows that accounting firms that embraced the cloud have survived the Covid-19 pandemic better than others.

SmartVault surveyed over 1,100 accounting professionals from 18 different countries to gauge the impact Covid-19 is having on the industry.

While most firms rate their handling of the pandemic as just above average, a few things stand out among firms who feel they are adjusting quite well. First, they use cloud-based technology – particularly, cloud-based document management and online client portals.

Sixty-three percent of firms that had a cloud-based document management system in place that they had handled the impact of Covid-19 well and felt they had a seamless transition to remote work. Successful firms also offered more virtual services to clients with 8% offering online client portal access.

Firms identified as most successful in response to the pandemic of focusing on clients and working to keep them informed of what is happening in terms of impact to their business and what feels like constant updates to legislation.

Firms identified as least successful in response to the pandemic are putting more energy into incorporating new technology to enable remote work and communication with team members and clients. Both groups are concerned with ensuring the security of communication and documents as they have transitioned to more virtual operations.

Overall the majority of respondents agree Covid-19 is acting as a forcing mechanism to get more clients and firms to embrace cloud-based technology allowing them to do their jobs better and offer more strategic advisory services.

It’s clear that the future of accounting is here. But it’s about more than just offering virtual services to clients in a time where social distancing mandates require it. This is about ensuring business continuity no matter what situations arise in the future. Those firms that are embracing cloud-based technology and processes are better able to adapt to unforeseen events that insuring their firm can survive in the long-term. After Covid-19 more accounting professionals will look for this when scouting new jobs and more clients will demand these virtual services as well.

So if you’re part of a firm that already had cloud-based take in place dash congratulations! It’s likely that you’ve had a much easier time adapting during this time of uncertainty. thus providing your team and your clients and advantage. For those of you who feel you have struggled greatly to transition to remote work, help is here

Impact of cloud systems on Covid-19 response

Overall, firms that already had at least one cloud system in place prior to the Covid-19 pandemic fared far better than firms that did not have any cloud systems in place.

Key highlights

78% of firms had at least one cloud-based system prior to the pandemic and 16% of firms had no cloud-based systems at all.

12% of firms had all the cloud tech options listed.

13% of firms had only cloud-based document management.

12.5% of firms had cloud-based document management and a cloud-based accounting application.

11.5% of firms had a cloud-based document management accounting application and tax application.

Most common “other” responses were payroll, email/Office365 and cloud hosting solutions for remote access.

Key Insights

63% of firms that had a cloud-based document management system in place that that handled the impact of the virus well and felt they had a seamless transition to remote work.

Only 31% of firms who had no cloud-based systems in place felt they had a seamless transition to remote work.

Quote from Dawn Brolin: “The Covid-19 pandemic was certainly not on anyone’s radar when making strategic decisions for their firm. I am very thankful that I implemented a streamlined process for onboarding new clients, secure document exchanges and e-signatures. We have not skipped a beat in productivity and work completion and I cannot imagine having to learn, implement, and teach a new process to my clients during this pandemic. Keeping up with all of the news around tax deadline changes, small business lending assistance to my clients, and getting my work done is already overwhelming.”

You can download the report here.