Leading practitioners on various stages of the journey to digitalisation have told us that they love the digital technology that can make their lives easier. They love the like-minded clients they work with and they love accountancy itself: they are passionate about their jobs – and their lives.

The case for the digitalised accountancy practice

Recent years have seen several transformational shifts in the technology available to accountants. Cloud-based solutions with a range of add-ons that integrate with the core product, together with access through broadband and mobile networks, have removed the 'brown paper bag' and replaced it with the smartphone and the tablet.

Not only is there an opportunity driver in this; there is also a compliance driver. For many governments, the collection of tax data by electronic means has become essential in managing the collection regime efficiently. This creates an imperative for businesses and their accountants to embrace the digital agenda.

A figure showing the benefits of digitalising your practice. My client: near real-time accounting - improved business insight; more relevant advice - informed decision making; easier flow of work - more focus on generating income, less on compliance. My team: flexibility in working practices - when it works for your team, greater access to varied resources; more challenging work - at the heart of the client's business; closer client contact - more frequent, more relevant. Myself: more rewarding client contact - the virtual CFO; practice growth potential - grow with your clients; less administration and more insightful - adding value while maintaining compliance

How to do it: the implementation roadmap

The case for accountants to adopt these technologies has never been stronger. Yet, it is a confusing landscape of varied suppliers and a myriad of application add-ons that tailor the core product for specific industries and/or geographies.

There are three key steps in the implementation of the digitalised practice, all based on the experience of our members:

  • Develop a strategy and select your applications
  • Develop the competencies and capabilities in your team
  • Focus on maintaining and growing your practice

A figure of the three key implementation steps described in the text above. The figure shows three boxes, each containing one key step: strategy and plan; capability development; maintain and grow.

Above all, enjoy the opportunity and rewards of growing your practice and taking your clients on their journey.

ACCA author, Clive Webb