With a focus on technology, the world of bookkeeping and accounting has undergone a number of changes throughout the past decade, and is continuing to grow in new and interesting directions. In the past five years, we have seen various cloud based accounting applications introduced into the market, which has helped to revolutionize the industry while creating awareness of online technologies. This new-found awareness has generated an opportunity for tech firms that are creating unique applications that address many of the problems currently in the industry, while helping to streamline the bookkeeping and accounting process.
In the past, bookkeepers and accountants would use accounting applications, such as QuickBooks, that offer a traditional financial package and leaves businesses feeling confident with their books. Throughout the past five years, there has been an influx of competition branching into the market with cloud-based applications, offering many of same financial functions as the traditional applications, but with added value such as anywhere or anytime access, multiple user admittance, and activity log audit trails. Competitors like Kashoo and Xero have made a name for themselves within the industry by offering an innovative product dedicated to make the financial process as simple as possible for bookkeepers, accountants, and businesses. This change in the industry has certainly stirred the pot, as QuickBooks released their brand new online application earlier this year.
It is clear that many of the bookkeeping and accounting functions we are used to are gradually moving to the cloud, especially with some of the most influential organizations in the industry now working with SaaS companies and products. As these online tools are starting to become a norm in the industry, many individuals who would, prehistorically, not understand the “cloud-movement” are beginning to look at tools that simplify the bookkeeping and accounting process.
One of the latest trends within the industry is the addition of cloud-based document management applications such as Smartvault and LedgerDocs. These firms offer innovative and time effective ways to receive, organize, and collaborate on documents, and have designed their applications specifically for the bookkeeping and accounting industry. Cloud-based tools such as these offer firms a competitive advantage as they have an opportunity to become virtual bookkeepers and accountants that are able to work with clients from around the world while never having to receive hard-copy documents. This also benefits businesses that are now able to make electronic copies of their accounting documents via smartphone or scanner, and upload them directly to their financial representative. These tools cut down on time spent couriering important documents, while offering a unique collaboration of tool bookkeepers, accountants, and their clients.
With such rapid change, it will be interesting to see where the bookkeeping and accounting industry goes in 2014. One thing is obvious; the move to the cloud is certainly coming and, although there will always be traditional methods being used, the wide-spread acceptance of cloud technologies within the industry is opening eyes to many tech firms looking for a niche.