Published On: Fri, Mar 10th, 2017

Accounting Software Trends That Are Here to Stay

Until relatively recently, accounting has remained a rather static practice. It was not that long ago that one still saw the number crunchers pouring over their paper-based ledgers and journals. Accounting software has developed exponentially over the past few decades and is now a vital tool within the organization that has indeed made the often-laborious task of balancing the books that much easier.

Accounting Software

Those whogrew up with technology thought nothing of it and used it from the start whereas their more seasoned colleagues have gradually embraced it. There have even been fears that the advanced technology, intelligent algorithms and machine learning capabilities could soon replace the need for human intervention.

Fortunately for them, this is not the case…yet. However, accounting software is a powerful, rapidly adapting tool that can make their jobs a lot easier as well as provide a vast amount of critical information that was previously either impossible to glean or so time-consuming that by the time the data was available, it was out of date.

It is important for accountants and the enterprise as a whole to be aware of the developing trends. They need to understand their value and embrace them in order to capitalize on available benefits and use them to their full advantage.

Let’s take a look at a few emerging trends in accounting software that are rapidly gaining momentum.

Cloud technology

As much as the sacred paper-based ledgers and journals have been done away with, the idea of the accounting data being housed on the computers of accountants, accessible only to them, is also a thing of the past. These days it is necessary for the smooth and effective running of organizations to integrate their software systems and share information across departments.

This is where accounting enterprise resource planning, or ERP software has come to the fore. It allows for data to be accessed or reviewed by anyone (with the skills, knowledge and need) at any time, from anywhere. The software also seamlessly integrates with the various other departments within the enterprise to save time and ensure improved accuracy. These enhancements allow the enterprise to be more agile, enabling them to respond and adapt to changes with much greater speed than in the past.

Despite the improvements in accounting ERP software, it would not be nearly as effective without the concurrent growth in cloud computing. As more data originates from mobile devices, the cloud is the perfect solution. Time management, estimates, inventory control, invoicing and mobile payments are all directed to the cloud where they can be processed and reviewed almost instantaneously.

There are several other advantages, including less reliance on internal hardware and software support and costs can be spread over the term of the project, doing away with the initial capital outlay.

Security issues related to cloud-based systems are largely behind us, and it is now as secure, if not more so than legacy systems.

Application Integration

Another developing trend, again spurred on largely due to the rise of ERP packages, is the increased integration functionality that enable organizations to leverage existing systems. The growth is coming from the big accounting software companies as well as a host of smaller developers creating third-party add-on software or applications that integrate with traditional platforms.

Increased Functionality

As mentioned above, the development of cloud-based platforms, as well as the integration of applications, has led to increased functionality of the accounting discipline, far beyond what it was just a few years ago.

Comprehensive accounting software packages now typically incorporate the ability to support HR, sales and marketing, supply chain, manufacturing and other departments within the enterprise.

The packages provide a number of benefits. The use of a single source of data input reduces work duplication and time delays between departments, resulting in faster and more accurate information that can be critical when fast analysis and decisions need to be made. There are also reduced support costs with such systems.

Analytics

A critical requirement for business success in these changing times is the ability to leverage the vast amount of data that is made available by these systems. The business intelligence tools that are becoming part of the accounting software systems are becoming increasingly more important for the growth and development of the company.

The traditional focus on income and expenses or assets and liabilities has shifted towards more specific performance indicators and emerging or changing trends. Early identification on these, their potential impact on the business and the correct way to respond to them is the key to success in modern, dynamic markets.

Ready access to timely, accurate and easy to interpret data is necessary for educated decisions to be made at great speed.

While these emerging trends might pose a challenge for some, the opportunities and advantages are immeasurable and the correct implementation of the available tools will mean the difference between those that lead the market and those that slowly slip into obscurity.

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