In this time and age, technology influences consumer behaviors such as spending and budgeting power. Of course – from booking air tickets and buying groceries with just a few taps on the mobile screen to running a house (ever heard of Google Home?), technology has made everything possible and convenient for the 21st century consumer!
According to a recent survey by AICPA, 98% of millennials and 96% of Generation Xers have used (and use) personal technology (such as mobile apps) to make a purchase. Forty-seven per cent of the survey respondents insist technology helps them better budget their finances.
So you see – consumers have embraced technology with open arms and are implementing it in their daily routine. While the B2C industry is thriving due to amplified use of the internet, the B2B spectrum hasn’t been ignored either; and the accounting industry is proof of that!
Talking of CPAs, technology has also made their jobs easier. Tasks revolving around verifying ledgers and books and maintaining financial reports are mostly handled by special accounting tools and software.
While technology has left little room for human errors in the accounting world, it is equally important for CPAs to keep up with the up-and-coming technologies to stay insightful and to be able to assure and advice their clients better.
AICPA’s Assurance Services Executive Committee (ASEC) meeting, held sometime back, discussed services that accounting firms may have to provide to their clientele and third parties in the near future. Have a read:
Security has always been a major issue in the accounting industry. The information that CPAs deal with is highly sensitive. Did you know the total cost of data breach in 2015 was $6.5 million?; the same report highlighted “the more records lost, the higher the cost of the data breach”.
No wonder, it has become all the more necessary for accounting firms to develop a cybersecurity risk management programs to assess the effectiveness of their framework. This reporting will only instill confidence in the clients.
Big data and analytics have enabled to assess the increasing volumes of data. Technology is a game-changer for audits because it has allowed CPAs to make high-performance computing and obtain valuable insights from client data.
For instance, an auditor can now analyze all revenue and contra-revenue transactions to identify discrepancies across the business or irregularities with specific client accounts, instead of just auditing a few revenue transactions.
Combine auditing with data analytics and visual technologies – and CPAs have the power of identifying and examining risks that help them to explain why a particular transaction deviated from the norm.
That’s what auditing is all about – isn’t it?
Did you know 81 per cent of S&P 500 companies published corporate sustainability reports in 2015? In the last several years, reporting on corporate sustainability has become quite consistent.
Due to this, the CPAs are able to provide trusted third-party assurance on a client’s sustainability information on indicators which comprise economic, environmental and social.
Technology is off to make it possible for CPAs to provide value-added services to clients; and looking at these three up-and-coming services, we can certainly conclude that the progress in the accounting industry is in the right direction.