Accounting software company Xero recently released its report on the digital accounting renaissance, and their findings suggest that for most businesses, going digital will soon be the only way forward. In their survey, “Digital or Die: The Accounting Renaissance,” more than 670 accountants and 1,000 small and medium enterprise (SME) owners were asked about their current accounting methods and technologies to draw some startling conclusions.
Overwhelmingly, accounting professionals recognize the advantages of implementing automation technologies: almost half of those surveyed (45%) say they believe their practices will need to go digital to survive, and nearly everyone (83%) believes that today an understanding of technology is just as important as an understanding of accounting.
The list of benefits is also well-established. With automation, accountants would expect reduced operational costs (35%), time savings (33%), shorter work days (32%), better data security (25%), more reliability (24%). Better yet, online accounting tools allow accounting teams to access data in real-time, while manual accounting methods rely on periodic reporting at quarter- or year-end. Fast access to accurate data is key for teams that want to spot trends as they develop, fix issues before they burgeon into full-blown crises, or jump on opportunities for growth.
However, some accounting firms are still mired in the past. From the report, more than three-quarters of firm-based accountants said they still occasionally use spreadsheets, while 18% rely on paper ledgers. One of the major barriers found in these firms is a lack of educational support. While half of those surveyed say that are able to learn about new technologies at work, 1 in 4 is instead enrolled in off-site courses.
The report does suggest, given the data collected, that we are at a tipping point. Business owners, 94% of them, want their accounting teams using the latest technology, and firms that have already gone digital generated up to 34% more revenue per employee last year as employees were able to reinvest the time they saved into higher value tasks.
For companies that are ready to go digital, a solution like Beanworks, which offers accounts payable automation, is a clear path forward. Get a detailed view of the benefits of accounts payable automation in our new guide or contact an AP specialist to request a demo.