Technology defines the next-generation accounting industry. Pens, calculators and paper are still on the desk, but today's accounting experts no longer rely on them to balance daybooks or make reports. Instead, they use technology that has changed the way the most modern fiduciaries work. After a quick overview of the history and evolution of accounting, we will focus on how technology has changed the profession.
From the earliest days when clay and abacus (abacus counter) were created, accounting is as old as civilization. It was only during the commercial revolution in the region of Venice and Florence in Italy that double-entry accounting was born. Often referred to as "The Father of Accounting and Bookkeeping", the Franciscan monk and mathematician, Luca Pacioli, published in the 15th century a book giving several wise pieces of advice: be trustworthy, save enough money, keep your accounting system up-to-date and find a good accountant.
Accounting will then develop and adapt to build itself into a profession. The growth of the industrial and trade markets requires reliable accounting that becomes an integral part of the business.
Not so long ago, in the 1970s, every debit and credit notice was written manually, the savings books were real physical notebooks and bookkeepings were big and heavy. Many employees were in charge of long and laborious tasks with no added value and where the risk of error was big and could cost time and money. The introduction of spreadsheets has been an essential change in the modern fiduciary world. Hours and hours of paper work were eliminated and replaced by elaborate formulas to consolidate books quickly and easily.
No doubt technology has taken a growing place in companies and allowed to increase performance. More than an evolution, we speak of revolution. At the edge of technology, it is said that accountants were the first to have a computer on their desk. Traditional methods have been adapted with introducing new tools and ways of working that have really changed accounting for the benefit of both clients and fiduciaries.
Decrease of manual work and consequently errors
There are now a number of technology that can reduce the amount of manual entry and the margin of error. Excel has become obsolete and has been replaced by specialized software. Companies have now the potential to streamline data entry. Modern fiduciaries have access to more and more accurate data that they can interpret to provide strategy and pieces of advice, or assist clients in planning future budgets. Technology tools also allow a better communication between the clients and their fiduciary. While face-to-face meetings may be essential for certain topics, technology allows clients to outsource their administration to a fiduciary who is not necessarily there.
In general, Cloud Computing is the delivery of on-demand resources and services over the Internet. We can access data, that are synchronized with other information, or programs, via the internet rather than via the hard disk of a computer. In this way, a company can buy IT resources as a service.
Whether it's a messaging system like Gmail or document sharing with Dropbox, Cloud Computing is becoming more common and can be an asset for management and customer relationship.
Technological progress and GDPR lead to questions of security. Thanks to reliable programs, data is secure and accounting softwares are among the most protected ones available.
Some startups have chosen to work by delegating some of the tasks to the company. In other words, they have developed programs so that a maximum of accounting work – entry of transactions for example – can be done by the client.
This may be a short-term solution for an independent worker. But is the time spent really worth the potential saving you think you might do? Indeed, behind a software, there is an algorithm defined for a large number of cases. But it is difficult to take into consideration the subtlety of compliance, regulations and features of our profession. From one country to another, from one canton to another, from one date to another, they differ and evolve. Technology is a true asset but is nothing without human expertise and knowledge.
New technology to make work life easier
Even if there are great accounting software, a business manager need to consider some issues before replacing a fiduciary with it. If a software is designed to help those who do not have a lot of accounting experience, taking the time to understand and configure it for your specific situation can be a significant investment.
Some fiduciaries took advantage of technology to optimize their processes and bring more value to their clients. By leveraging the best management technology, Synergix has implemented its own processes to make the life of managers easier. No investment in an accounting system is necessary, therefore the tools are accessible to both a SME or a multinational company. Configuration and updates are handled by the fiduciary.
The client only needs to scan his invoices upon reception, then everything is processed almost instantly by Synergix. The implementation of an ERP and EDM (Electronic Document Management) allows an optimized administrative management, archiving of documents and easy retrieval of information if necessary. Time-consuming missions have decreased significantly in favor of greater efficiency, better quality of work and information, and increased productivity. The finance and controlling experts are more flexible and can focus on supporting their clients in managing their company and finances.
The founder and director of Synergix, Enrico and Jérôme Chincarini, pointed out the lack of a tool that would enable entrepreneurs to have a clear view on their financial data in real time, to communicate easily with their fiduciary and their employees, as well as the need to easily find accounting entries. They created IODD, in parallel to Synergix. Thanks to intuitive and accurate dashboards, every information is centralized and synchronized to ensure the best visualization of business data and increase decision-making process. Data can be extracted and analyzed on any device with an internet connection.
The tool is in perpetual evolution and relies on mobile accounting to stop filling your shoe boxes with receipts. You just need to take a picture of your receipts and the system extracts the relevant information that therefore does not need to be manually entered. These receipts can be added directly to the employee's monthly expense report.
Technology plays a leading role in the performance of a company that grows along with innovation. Technology and automation enable finance and controlling experts to have more time to interpret data, provide relevant pieces of financial advice and be even more involved in their clients' businesses. Therefore, they can provide the best recommendations to the Management and suggest ways to reduce costs while improving profits.
Countries such as the United States and France have adapted their trainings to offer courses in accounting and technology. This is still not the case in Switzerland, but a modern fiduciary like Synergix, hires specific profiles with a decisive experience and sensitivity to digital tools.