4 Technology Trends to Enhance Your Business
It goes without saying that technology is an extremely integral part of running a successful business in today’s world. Although often a significant investment up front, the endless gains in efficiency and productivity will quickly transcend the initial cash outlay. The following are trends that can help everyone from sole practitioners to large public accounting firms to CPAs in business and industry.
1. Document Storage
The days of searching through file cabinets filled with red ropes of ledgers and source documents are a thing of the past. Electronic document storage is not only the way of the future, but it has numerous benefits — some of which may not initially be obvious. The efficiencies gained by storing documents electronically will save time and space, which will directly translate into money saved. The initial cash outlay of implementing a cloud-based storage system will pay for itself in no time. Each storage product will vary, so it’s important to be aware of the various capabilities associated with each. CPAs can ensure a product is a good fit for their business by answering the following questions:
- What types of files is the company looking to store electronically?
- How is the file management system set up to enable maximum efficiency in finding specific documents?
- How does staff want to access the documents? Is there a mobile application?
- Can a client portal be integrated to allow for sharing of documents?
2. Digital Workflow Tracking
Real-time accessibility has transformed many businesses when it comes to workflow tracking. “One stop shop” cloud technologies can typically be customized for data entry as the information is gathered in one place. Knowing where a specific task stands in the process not only enhances the workflow but can also provide added insights through the generation of reports As technology continues to evolve, many platforms are now introducing mobile applications that enhance the userexperience and make it even easier to know where something stands literally at any point in time. From tax returns to notice correspondence and everything
in between, digital workflow tracking will not only help to prevent tasks from slipping through the cracks but also help to keep workflows organized and moving forward efficiently.
3. Data Automation
For tax professionals – this is a no-brainer. In addition to aiding in going paperless, data automation software can do a lot of the heavy lifting — scanning, organizing a PDF and pre-populating tax returns. This can help to eliminate human error as well as save time on manual data entry. Data automation products offer various levels of automation, validation, organization and population, so it’s important to get a good handle on each. It is also imperative to ensure that the product is compatible and “speaks” to the other products and software programs being used at the company. Ask for a demo, or perhaps even a free trial. After deciding on a product, it’s also very important to make sure there’s a process in place to fully utilize the features and maximize the efficiencies offered by the software.
4. Social Media
Many may not think of social media as a technology trend, but it can very easily differentiate your business, increase awareness and, in turn, increase profits. LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram have become the norm for many businesses; the key is to keep content updated and relevant. By having a strong social media presence, a company can attract new business, retain current business and distinguish itself from competitors,
which will ultimately also attract talent. It’s a win-win-win-win situation.