The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here, and it’s changing the way we do business. Also known as Industry 4.0, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is the ongoing automation of traditionally manual processes.
For accounting firms, the Fourth Industrial Revolution means more intelligent systems are becoming available for tracking payments, invoices, taxes, and more. These systems facilitate building better relationships with clients and reduce the risk of mistakes through more advanced technology.
But how exactly does the automation technology brought on by the Fourth Industrial Revolution change the way accountants interact with their clients? Let’s take a look at some of the effects.
Improving the Way Accountants Manage Data
Today’s accountants are under great pressure to manage mountains of information and draw out insights as soon as a client needs them. Industry 4.0 empowers accountants to review and interpret data in virtually no time at all and from almost anywhere in the world.
Take the way clients process payments, for example. Some companies accept a variety of payments from different environments, including online bank transfers, wire transfers, and contactless payment services. Accountants must be able to collect all of that information in the same place accurately to give their customers a clear picture of their cash flow.
What’s more, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the tools that drive it create more effective solutions for accessing and managing data, ensuring there are no duplicate records or errors in a client’s data.
Smart analytics systems with AI algorithms also sort through huge amounts of information much faster than any human being—and with far greater accuracy—reducing the risk of discrepancies that cause issues with a company’s financial health.
Better Employee Engagement for Accountants
There’s no doubt about it: happy employees create happy clients. And happy clients are more likely to become repeat customers, driving your firm’s revenue up.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution improves an accountants’ work experience by reducing the number of repetitive tasks they need to do each day so they can focus on more meaningful work and creating greater value for their client base.
Automating tedious tasks like double-checking data or adding invoices into a system means that professional accountants have more time to spend helping their clients increase cash flow, budgeting, and countless other professional challenges.
And despite outdated concerns that automation leads to the loss of jobs in certain sectors, many companies are discovering that automation empowers rather than replaces human employees.
Staff can spend more time on the tasks that they enjoy, ones that help move the needle for their clients, and in turn, their firm.
At the same time, the rise of new technology is creating more flexible working environments.
With the help of cloud technology, accounting teams can work productively from any environment, allowing for better remote and global work opportunities. This also ensures that leading accounting firms can hire the best talent wherever they may be.
Improving Security and Compliance
Finally, the Fourth Industrial Revolution also plays an important role in improving security and compliance measures that accountants take to protect their clients.
Automation empowers firms to investigate potential issues much faster when something goes wrong with their data. You can even use automation to create a system that automatically follows through on required next steps for security and disaster management based on your firm and industry best practices. Automation brings security into the modern era.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg; some technologies are experimenting with new Industry 4.0-enabled tools that support better account management and privacy through technologies like biometrics.
In the near future, it may be possible to access your accounting information just by using the sound signature of your voice, rather than relying exclusively on a username and password. Talk about effortless!
Natural language processing algorithms and machine learning will be able to sort through and identify specific features in a person’s voice to determine whether they are who they say they are.
Such technologies could reduce the risk of potential fraud issues and help clients feel safer and more protected.
Better Relationships Through Real-Time Insights
For accountants, one of the most significant benefits of Industry 4.0 is that it offers a real-time look at client data. Accountants are better positioned to answer a client question or provide proactive advice in little to no time—a huge advantage for clients that need to make business decisions on the fly.
Accountants can also improve the client relationship by providing greater transparency around a client’s financial insights. In client meetings, they can pull up a client’s books and not worry about whether or not the data are updated, which lets a client know and trust that their accounts are being properly tended to and maintained.
A New Era of Accounting
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is impacting all areas of business, and for accounting, that’s a good thing. It improves how we access, manage, and protect client data. It leads to better growth opportunities based on solid client experiences. And it improves the overall accountant-client relationship.
While we still have a way to go before we discover all the potential benefits of Industry 4.0, some innovative firms are already experiencing the benefits associated with bringing new technology into the accountant-client relationship.
Industry 4.0 technology even has the ability to transform the way your firm handles its busiest season of the year by innovating how you handle corporate tax write-ups. With automation powered by Botkeeper, you can save 8 to 12 hours per write-up this tax season—and it comes in a package that’s more reliable and cost-effective than hiring additional seasonal labor.
To learn more about how your firm can take advantage of Industry 4.0 to improve your tax season, join us for our next presentation created for Accounting Professionals who are aiming to transform and evolve their write-up work. Sign up today before seats fill up!