The economic rollercoaster of the last six years or so will certainly be remembered as an extremely difficult time for businesses, but the number of mergers, insolvencies and acquisitions that took place during these years provided a steady stream of business opportunities for a number of accountancy firms.

In this special time of increased activity, many accounting firms found themselves in heightened direct competition with one another, meaning greater demand from clients and a greater return on investment generally for services.

Value-added services

As such, it was essential for these firms to adapt to the prevailing circumstances – developing and offering new value-added services, primarily achieved by migrating much of their provisions to the cloud and offering near unlimited levels of access to their clients. In this way, costs could be dramatically reduced and business maintained.

Aside from the many regulatory adjustments enforced on a steady basis, accounting practice has remained largely the same for the past few decades, with firms relying upon outdated time management and billing practices.

These days, and with the advent of cloud computer technology firms find themselves unable to compete in the marketplace without making the most of the flexibility, affordability and security that operating online has to offer.

Indeed, such technological advances in recent years have rendered most of these traditional information-processing systems obsolete, and with it the role of the accountant has undoubtedly changed.

Much of the manual work previously undertaken by accountants is now fully automated on cloud-based software. As such, the role of the accountant has changed somewhat in recent years from that of an information processor to data analyst.

Regulatory enforcement

This puts them in a better position to offer expertise and insight into the many strategic issues that might affect their clients, without the distraction of confusing spreadsheets.

Additionally, and with the ever-changing nature of regulation and compliance in the financial world, accountants are finding themselves occupying the role of regulator, ensuring that their client’s financial records adhere to the appropriate legislature.

Cloud-based accounting technology has opened the door to a more valuable service for accountants and their clients alike. Indeed, accounting firms are now measured according to their ability to provide quality advice, consistency and value-added service rather than their ability to crunch numbers alone.

This article was produced by Liquid Accounts – leading online accountancy software provider for SMEs, Accountancy and Bookkeeping practices in the UK. For more information and a free trial visit www.liquidaccounts.com