Thursday, 23 January 2014 19:28

The ‘pocket accountant’ a reality as cloud, mobile impacts accounting

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There’s expected to be increasing levels of collaboration enabled by cloud and mobile technologies and a deepening of the relationship between small businesses and accounting practitioners in 2014, according to predictions for this year from a major online accounting software company.

According to Brad Paterson, VP & Managing Director of Intuit APAC, Australian small businesses are set to benefit from “unprecedented access” to timely data, professional advice and technological support with increasingly powerful cloud and mobile solutions facilitating faster, more collaborative ways of working in 2014.

Looking back on 2013, Paterson said that while there was no surprise around the increased talk of the benefits of mobile and cloud solutions, the “astronomical increase in uptake of such technologies by Australian small businesses was significant.”

“We’ve seen greater than anticipated usage of mobile devices by small businesses, with Australia now ranked second in the world for smartphone usage. According to a recent TechAisle study, telecommuting has also become the norm, with 72% of employees in smaller companies taking advantage of the latest mobility devices and working from home.

“In addition to access, small businesses and their trusted advisors including accountants and bookkeepers are also increasingly looking for ways to save time. Intuit’s 2013 research with 1000 small businesses in Australia showed that owners could save, on average, an hour each day by being able to complete business tasks on the go – this equates to an entire month’s holiday.”

According to Paterson, customers have told Intuit that “they love flexible, scalable online platforms and the sophistication of software which enables those with financial responsibilities to have access to their accountant’s expertise anywhere, at any time and from any device.”

“As such, we are seeing the concept of having an ‘accountant in your pocket’ become a reality.

“The shift in the role of the accountant, from ‘number cruncher’ to trusted financial advisor, will only continue, meaning accountants will have to step up to the plate and differentiate themselves by offering value-added consultative services.”

IT upgrades and exciting software developments, driven by customer demand and their desire to participate in the creation of financial management solutions, will also be on the agenda for small businesses in 2014.”

Paterson cites a 2013 TechAisle Australia SMB Mobility Adoption & Trends report which says that with high expectations of productivity increases, “nearly 40% of SMBs are planning to buy or upgrade iPad/tablet technologies over the next year, with those businesses of 10 employees or more having an even higher planned adoption rate.”

“Small businesses, accountants and bookkeepers also need software that simply works and is intuitive so application suites will have to integrate the products and services that address the entire workflow and enable better communication and collaboration,” Paterson advised.

Intuit’s focus in 2014 is on bringing together small business and accounting offerings with the power of the cloud and mobile, rolling out a Virtual Office solution to streamline the entire end-to-end financial process, and introducing the power that will enable Intuit to be the operating system, or platform, behind small business success.

“We believe the interests of our small business customers and their accounting practitioners are now one and the same – the focus is on time saving, growth and service. To thrive in this environment, they need solutions that are built from the ground up for a mobile environment and contain the same powerful features as their desktop counterparts. We knew mobile would lead with customers and we’ve been preparing for it,” Paterson said.

Paterson said that this year, more than ever, Intuit is set to put customers in the driver’s seat, enabling participation-driven innovation.  

“Customers will continue to drive innovation as we dramatically increase the number of updates to the Australian business. Partnering with bookkeepers, accountants, developers and industry bodies, we expect to see some really exciting growth and platform developments in 2014 and beyond.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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