Tech & CAS: How Advisory Benefits From The Use of Automation
There’s no doubt that advisory services and consulting strengthen an accounting firm’s menu of services. The two services open the door to a wide variety of additional revenue opportunities, build a stronger relationship with clients, and are a way to future-proof your firm. After all, clients hire you for your expertise and insight, which can’t be replaced by technology.
But just because you’re able to up the value you bring to client relationships through CAS, it doesn’t mean you can forget about compliance and bookkeeping services. And truly, most firms that add CAS to their service offerings don’t replace compliance services; the two work together.
So what does this mean for firms looking to add advisory services to their offering? It comes down to bandwidth. To be more specific, it comes down to increasing bandwidth at your firm.
This is where technology becomes an integral part of being able to offer CAS. Having deep tech integrations into your processes allows you to boost your efficiency and create enough bandwidth to deliver the CAS services that will help grow your firm.
In this guide to the tech side of offering CAS, we’ll explore how the two work together — and how you must have the former in order to be successful with the latter.
TECHNOLOGY SOLVES THE WORST DATA ENTRY CHALLENGES
For starters, all firms are plagued with the challenge of completing data entry efficiently and accurately. But let’s not beat around the bush here: data entry is tedious, time-consuming, and painful. No one likes it, and it’s a mindless (though necessary) task that’s part of an accounting professional’s life.
The good news is that you no longer need to enter your financial data manually. Technology exists to solve the worst parts of data entry:
The modern, savvy firm uses technology to do the heavy lifting when it comes to data entry and solves these challenges. There are a number of ways to incorporate tech into your data entry processes, and here are some of the easiest options:
TECH REDUCES THE TIME BETWEEN TRANSACTION AND RECONCILIATION
Account reconciliation is another necessary but time-consuming process for accountants, and some clients need it done more frequently than the typical once-a-month schedule. Fortunately, technology can help centralize financial data so you can significantly speed up the reconciliation process and produce accurate results faster for your clients. The software can help improve the reconciliation process through:
Automatic reports: In just a few clicks, you can see and determine a resolution for any records that don’t match.
Transaction matching: This is the functionality that makes the most significant difference. Since these platforms have access to all your financial data, they can match transactions and highlight inconsistencies much more quickly than humans.
Transaction classification: As part of the reporting functionality, most reconciliation software allows you to classify each transaction for better visualization.
Integration to your current platform: For some firms, migrating to a new platform for improved functionality isn’t always possible or the preferred route to take. Fortunately, most reconciliation apps integrate directly with your existing accounting software.
CAS REQUIRES TECH-DRIVEN PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS
Your clients rely on your expertise to make the best possible business decisions. They trust you, which makes your ability to explain your suggestions with data all the more important!
Having access to the most up-to-date financial data can be what sets you apart from competing advisors. The other aspect of integrating tech into your advisory services is that it helps you deliver financial information in a manner that’s much easier to understand for clients that don’t have a financial background. Said differently, presenting easy-to-read charts and graphs to your clients is a considerable improvement over a packed spreadsheet full of numbers.
Here are some of the benefits of forecasting software:
Automatic updates: The best forecasting software integrates directly with your tech stack. This deep integration allows it to pull all the necessary reports with a few clicks.
User management and custom dashboards: Most forecasting software will enable you to build custom forecasts for different users. This way, you can make sure that each one of your clients and everyone on their team gets the information that matters to them the most.
Graphic interface: If any of your clients don’t have a robust financial background, presenting data visually can help them better understand what you’re telling them, and it could help them make faster, more impactful business decisions. That means better results for them, and a better client relationship for you!
Here are a few forecasting apps for you to consider:
Xero and QuickBooks: Most accounting software has some forecasting functionality, but depending on which service tier you’re working with, it may be limited.
Workday Adaptive Planning: This is a corporate-level solution that has the power to handle large amounts of data for budgeting and forecasting.
Jirav: This is a user-friendly solution focused on small and medium businesses and offers plenty of flexibility in forecasting.
EXAMPLE OF AN IDEAL CAS TECH STACK
The key to making your client advisory services successful is a combination of efficiency, access to data, and ease of communication. As a provider of advisory services, your role goes beyond reports. You need to build a strong relationship with your clients.
For this reason, we don’t recommend any firm to operate without an adequate tech stack — it’s just not a viable option for growth! This is especially true if you work with smaller businesses or startups that have a limited budget.
MAKE YOUR CAS OFFERINGS REPEATABLE & APPEALING
More and more firms are recognizing the benet of offering advisory to their clients, and that means the field is getting more competitive. To futureproof your advisory services, you need to be able to differentiate yourself from others and streamline your processes for minimal errors and consistent results.
Having the right tech stack allows you to do this. There’s simply no other way to increase your profitability and do more in less time. And as an advisory service provider, your time is your limiting factor; you must make the most efficient use out of it.
From a cost perspective, your tech stack eventually ends up paying for itself with the amount of extra work it allows you to take on and the time it saves you. And if you’re budget-conscious (who isn’t these days?), you can filter your tech options by what’s affordable. Alternatively, you can try to negotiate for your ideal price point!
CAPITALIZE ON THE OPPORTUNITY THAT COMES WITH AUTOMATION
If it wasn’t apparent before, technology is the future of accounting. Automation is already saving firms and businesses countless hours of labor, and it’s only going to get better.
But the key factor to remember is that technology can’t replace your most valuable resource: your brain! Your advisory offering is uniquely tied to your own critical thinking, and technology supports your ability to provide insights and offer suggestions to your clients. Why not use it to your own advantage as a differentiating factor?
Now’s the time to explore automation and bring it into your firm. To learn more about how you can capitalize on the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning at your rm, take a look at how Botkeeper works by clicking below!
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