Being an accountant in the smart modern era of new technologies and automation is not an easy job. Accountants can quickly lose a job or clients if they are not evolving with the times. If they try to keep up with the old ways of accounting, i.e., manually, they will quickly be on the sidelines of the business.
Modern accountants must be smart accountants, as the main processes in business today are automation and workflow. Without it, they can’t succeed. But what do those things mean? What is, in fact, a smart accountant?
What is a smart accountant?
Most everything the older accountants did was through knowledge and by hand. The mantra of today, however, is making most of the operations automated.
Smart accountants do precisely that. They still use the knowledge they already have, but they also know how to automate many of their processes. These automated processes and many other things are with the use of cloud software like Sage Intacct, QuickBooks Online, NetSuite, and many more. All of these platforms have unique ecosystems, and they allow you to attach other tools which in turn gives you expanded functions and capabilities.
Smart accountants know how to utilize these software tools in combination with their skills and provide a modern and active service.
What does a smart accountant do?
Business leaders today do not want to do any accounting, which is understandable, but they expect to get the benefits of leading-edge accounting. They want all the information accounting can provide, organized in a meaningful way that can easily be accessed. A smart accountant can provide precisely that by:
- Understanding the process and the workflow of their clients
- Understanding the software
- Recommending the right solutions, i.e., apps that capture the data in a meaningful way in which the client can understand and utilize
Almost all accounting apps can bring in the bank and credit card information. However, it is up to the smart accountant to create and set all the rules and systems which will ensure that the information is collected and presented to the client correctly, and in the manner that’s usable to that business owner.
The existence of these software solutions and their practicality shows that there is no need for an accountant to prepare monthly statements for their clients because they can use the management dashboards of these tools. The dashboards can create a lot more information that’s also more useful and can allow the client to make their decisions for the business.
Key information to know
These software tools can replace a lot of things, but a smart accountant still needs to do what they do best – accounting and financial advice. In essence, consulting and advisory services still need to be provided.
Many businesses are turning to the Finance as a Service (FaaS) model which includes all the people, processes and systems needed to support a company’s daily financial operations and to enable more informed strategic decision making. The Finance as a Service model includes: a pre-integrated software stack, operational accounting services, financial reporting, compliance management and CFO services.
It is important for any finance & accounting leader to assess the various KPIs that are now created automatically and point out to the client the trends and critical measurements that only you can see.
A smart accountant will also have to utilize three additional methods which we will talk in greater detail in the following sections:
- Setting management dashboards
- Workflow automation, to bring in data from banking and credit card statements quickly and efficiently
- Charging for value, not hourly
Setting management dashboards for clients
It’s important to recognize that businesses either don’t have the time to figure the data out or they can’t. Furthermore, they shouldn’t have to worry about this as it should be the accountant or Finance as a Service provider’s job to help them and deliver the right data in an easy format.
Accountants or FaaS providers can do this by creating an efficient dashboard that will deploy data to the client quickly and in a way that’s easy to understand. If you want to achieve this, you should follow several steps:
- Create custom data that’s specific to the business. Everything on the dashboard needs to be unique and unambiguous. This can be done by understanding the business’s goals and missions.
- Make the complex data easy and intuitive, because businesses don’t need to get bogged down with complex data that won’t mean much to them.
- Prepare real-time data that the business can access when they need it the most.
Every accountant knows that processing bank and credit card statements take a lot of time. It involves a lot of manual work that takes a lot of time – time that would be of better use on other more important things for clients.
Accountants can spare themselves the time and effort wasted on this and thus improve how to deliver data to clients. By using some of the previously mentioned software tools, accountants can automatically transfer the bank and credit card statements onto the dashboard.
Charge for value
Charging for projects is a far better way of doing business as an accountant than it is by charging per hour. It might seem that an accountant will earn more by charging hourly, but the reality is that this way won’t retain clients.
Charging for value means that an accountant will also have to set up a fixed price in advance. That price needs to first take into consideration of the importance of what an accountant is delivering to the business.
The Finance as a Service (FaaS) model has a predictable service-based pricing that scales up or down with the business which is ideal for budgeting. The FaaS solution that provides finance and accounting services to companies as an alternative to building an in-house F&A function, in an accelerated timeline and at a lower cost.
There are several other pros for this way of charging:
- Businesses executives are not interested in the hours an accountant needs, and this method skips that
- Businesses care what’s in it for them, and this method proves that their service provider thinks that way as well
- Businesses want to buy an accountant’s skills, not their time
- Price certainty attracts everyone; hours do not
The modern world requires an advanced form of thinking that includes the current trends, and a smart accountant does possess such knowledge. Hopefully, this text will help you on your journey to choosing a smart accountant or Finance as a Service provider.