How has technology changed the accounting profession?
Luca Pacioli’s Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalità, published in 1494, marks the point at which the modern accounting profession began. The Summa was the first codification of the double-entry method of bookkeeping – the method had been used, but not published, in 7th century Muslim civilisation, 11th century Korean civilisation, and 13th century Florentine civilisation. This methodological innovation – a technology of order – created a platform from which business transactions could be reliably recorded.
Accounting took to using calculative technology, as that technology was developed – from abacuses to analytical engines.
Since the advent of the age of personal computing, the accounting profession has adopted innovations that have allowed greater accuracy, less fixity, and better service. First among these technologies is Sage’s cloud-based accounting software.
How has modern computing technology changed the accountant’s professional identity?
In touch with information
Thanks to modern accounting systems, a company can keep comprehensive records in digital form. Having their sources of information integrated onto one software means that a company can manage their business processes, such as purchasing or manufacturing, far more easily. Integrated information allows less space for clerical errors, less time spent reconciling different aspects of a business, and greater ease in distributing important company information.
Modern accounting software greatly reduces the likelihood of human-error. With a modern accounting information system, financial data are more easily captured and stored. When using cloud-based accounting software, you don’t need to worry about having your data lost due to theft or device failure. These innovations have made the mundane part of accounting – collating invoices and so on – an unnecessary part of the profession. When invoices can be digitally processed, there should be no need to work your way through a mountain of slips.
Modern accounting software can simplify the process of finding insights in data. A great accounting software system will be able to produce a variety of reports on demand. A modern accountant can see crucial company data almost at the speed of thought. Innovations in reporting have made it easier to show off important financial details, which is helpful when explaining difficult concepts to clients. These innovations mean huge reductions in rote work, and more time for an accountant to spend on finding valuable insights for their clients.
Time for strategy
The new wealth of information available to the accountant has further benefits. With the use of statistical programming suites, analysis can be more easily performed on company data. This can lead to strategic advantages – if a company is illumined about the key factors driving sales, for instance, they can make better business decisions. If they can be provided with future-oriented models, that use relevant data to predict business outcomes, they can act ahead of their competition to secure growth.
The modern accountant needs to be able to use computers knowledgably. If a modern accountant cannot use accounting software, or extract insights, or develop computational business models, then they risk becoming redundant. But an accountant that can use technology to enhance their ability and understanding is boon for any business.