Voices

Three ways to become a smart accountant

Accountants are growing older… but are they growing wiser?

Disruption is here, and smart accountants are offering advisory and consulting services to all of their clients.

Today, the buzzwords are automation and workflow. But what does that mean? What accountants did manually in the past can now be automated via cloud software such as QuickBooks Online, Intaact, NetSuite, Xero and others. All of them have ecosystems attached to them that allow you to attach other tools in a seamless manner to expand their digital functions and capabilities.

My clients don’t want to do any accounting, but they do want the information it captures in a meaningful way. It is important for accountants to understand the process and workflow so that we can recommend the right solutions (apps) that capture the data. Almost all of the accounting platforms now bring in bank and credit card information. It is up to us to set up the systems and rules to ensure that the information is being captured correctly and is useable to the business owner.

I see very little need for preparing monthly financial statements for my clients when management dashboards can generate much more useful information which will allow them to make better decisions. This is where the consulting and advisory services come in. I would suggest various KPIs being automatically created on the dashboard to point out trends and key measurements.

If you are thinking about changing from compliance to reliance, please spend some time checking out some of the accounting systems I mentioned above and their ecosystems so that you can be proficient in what you are advising clients about:

(Notice that there is overlap in some of the solutions, such as Expensify, which is on all of the accounting platforms.)

There is still some compliance work to be done. You can generate payroll tax returns automatically from the information that gets entered by an employee on an electronic time card. I spend my time comparing the payroll changes from the dashboard so that I can recommend actions. I am able to charge more based on the value I bring.

The three ways to be a smart accountant are:
1. Automate your workflow to bring in data from banking and charge card statements;
2. Set up management dashboards for your clients; and,
3. Charge for your value as a CPA, not hourly.