Are Accountants ready for the 4th Industrial Revolution?

4th IR

In my experience accountants, like me, tend to be fairly set in their ways, using tried and trusted methods and systems to do their stuff. Don’t get me started on accountants’ use of spreadsheets – they pop up everywhere!

Some of you may have noticed that we’re in the middle of an industrial revolution, with digital technology driving ever-faster innovation and increasing expectations of customer service via mobile always on internet based connectivity. There’s some amazing things happening and the pace of change is not about to slow down. Companies need to embrace digital transformation or fade away.

So what’s this got to do with accountants?

Well sooner or later even the world of accountants will massively change. The lines between front and back office systems and processes will become blurred with integrated systems enabling automated processes. This in turn will enable the ability to analyse data with ever increasing levels of sophistication to obtain deeper understanding of what drives profitability and what trends are happening in the business that can help drive actions. One day we won’t have teams of people producing paper based documents that are then processed by other teams of people…….

As a FinancialForce and Salesforce consultant I know that all of this is possible now. My clients have integrated systems that, with the minimum of human intervention, issue daily Sales Invoices to customers and process them fully coded, automatically accrue related costs and display real time profitability on executive dashboards.  Need to introduce a new product or service? No problem, as the platform is flexible at pace – easy to change quickly. Got a question or an issue to investigate? All data is visible and easy to report on and is connected – so you can analyse those debits and credits by say customers in the north, or project, or project manager, or project team etc.

It doesn’t stop there either. Salesforce has recently embedded Artificial Intelligence into the platform and FinancialForce is exploring how best to use this to unlock new insights into financial performance.

So I challenge all accountants out there – how much do you know about what is possible now? How will you develop your systems, processes and way of thinking to take advantage of new technology?  Are you ready?

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