Cloud Accounting is only the beginning: Accountants must become more tech-savvy
As a software developer and also as someone who comes from an accounting background, I must admit that I am often concerned by the fact that many accountants and accountancy firms have not embraced modern technological developments in their day-to-day operations.
I don’t expect an accountant to be a Mark Zuckerberg or an Elon Musk, but I would like to expect a level of competence from a person who works in a discipline that is being continually driven by client expectations to be more efficient and by legislation to communicate more via the internet. This is not just about e-mail, but also about being familiar with the basic requirements of website design, online marketing and integrated processes, to name but a few examples.
Accountants have made the leap when it comes to accounting software (how many solely rely on ledgers and paperwork these days?) but they have yet to make the same logical progression with other essential parts of their business. Why is this?
When dealing with any business or professional person (not only accountants), I would expect them to have their own website, a healthy presence on social media and the basics of a consistent marketing brand. These are not superficial considerations; they reflect the mindset of that business or business person, and both consciously and unconsciously make an impression (or lack of) on the potential client or business partner.
For instance, I wonder how many of you reading this article use an e-mail address that incorporates the name of your business, which would also be the URL (web address) for your website? For those of you who don’t, you are possibly losing out on potential business. I for one would intuitively be more inclined to do business with someone using an e-mail address such as firstname.lastname@example.org than something like email@example.com. The former implies a professionalism that the latter simply does not.
Of course, such considerations in themselves would not make you a better accountant, but if you have the core accountancy skills, a good reputation and a desire to grow your business, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not tidying up your professional online appearance.
Did you know that Diamond Discovery (the makers of Prelude Accounts) provides accountants and accountancy firms with cost-effective web-hosting and e-mail services, along with web design, copywriting and online marketing packages? This is in addition to our accounting and business software and services, some of which are discounted or even FREE for ICPA members.
We come from an accountancy background and we understand what your business will need in terms of an online presence. A good online presence consolidates and protects your existing position in your local area, as well as being required if you want to grow your business.
For instance, you can integrate Prelude Accounts with your own website, including branding, colour scheme and certain style parameters, to help you provide a one-stop portal for your clients to access their accounts. This would all be through a fully-branded website that you would own and have full control over.
We are always listening to client feedback from our growing user base and requests for bank feeds come up a lot. As a result we have approached Bankstream, providers of bank-authorised data feeds, with a view to providing an integrated solution with their service for accountants to use in Prelude Accounts.
We will also soon be opening up an API (Application Program Interface) for Prelude Accounts, so it can be integrated with other software programs such as Bankstream. This would allow for Prelude Accounts to integrate with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems. Diamond Discovery is also developing its own CRM system to incorporate an e-mail marketing function, so you will soon be able to use the information inputted straight into Prelude Accounts for your own or your clients’ e-mail marketing purposes.
We are also looking at making Diamond Discovery’s final accounts program (Comprehensive Accounts) an integrated part of the Diamond Discovery suite of software products, so we can provide the ultimate software package that would meet all the business needs of an accountancy firm.
To celebrate this expansion of our services for accountants, Diamond Discovery is offering FREE website and POP/IMAP email hosting to all those who have a current Prelude Accounts subscription. To find out more about how having a Prelude Accounts subscription can significantly reduce your business’ online overheads, call 01656 725800 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be sure to visit www.preludeaccounts.com regularly for further Diamond Discovery offers and services for accountants and accountancy firms.
Prelude Accounts can also be found on Twitter via @PreludeAccounts.