“Technology [has] undoubtedly been the biggest contributor to the growth of firms over the past 5-10 years”. Pavan Sharma, a seasoned CA, elaborates on the opportunities for growth, expansion and advancement that technology has brought to the CA practice.
Technology has played a monumental role in transforming a significant business function - Finance.
- It has transformed the way we, as Chartered Accountants, liaise with our clients.
- The power of the internet has brought a mountain of knowledge and resources to our doorstep.
- It has enabled small practicing CA firms (the Davids) to compete with large firms (the Goliaths). While we have a long way to go before these firms stand on the same footing as their muscular cousins, technology has undoubtedly helped us inch that much closer.
I am one amongst the ‘Davids’ and understand its role as the cornerstone of scaling up one’s practice. Let's take a closer look at how it plays this pivotal role.
Changes our landscape
Technology has had such a big impact on the way CAs work that it undoubtedly has been the biggest contributor to the growth of firms over the past 5-10 years. With the advent of cloud solutions, we can expect this trend to continue into the foreseeable future. CA firms are now able to accept work from outside their home locations. We are able to handle accounting assignments, payroll assignments and even local government compliances of businesses in other cities (and even countries). Technology has helped us break the barriers created by the geographies we reside and work in. CA firms should explore cloud solutions for accounting & payroll processing for this is where the future lies.
Changes the way we operate
Technology has changed the way we operate. It has given us so many tools to choose from that we are spoilt for alternatives. The biggest advantage of technology is that it has helped us empty some mind space in our personal hard drive - our brains. The space so created can be used well for other purposes. Cloud solutions similarly have helped free up some power and space from our computers. Information is available at the click of a button or at the touch of your fingertip, on the go and even on your mobile device. What the calculator did for mathematics, B2B SaaS solutions are doing for business functions and professional services. We can now focus on ensuring the right inputs are provided and processes are being followed rather than the calculations being correct. This allows us to do more with less and more efficiently, hence better business.
Changes the way we communicate
We need to find faster means of communication with our clients. Time is of the essence here and technology can help us immensely. This cannot be truer than in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore where our favorite pastime is watching the signals switch between red and green. Communication tools like Skype and Google Hangouts can be used to have meetings with clients. WhatsApp is being used increasingly by businesses worldwide to communicate. All this is in addition to our good old friend - email (I did not know that in my lifetime that email, instead of the post, would become an ‘old’ friend - time has indeed moved swiftly!). Conferences with multiple persons can be organized using video conferencing tools; it’s heartening to see that even the Companies Act of India allows board meetings to be held, subject to other conditions, over an audio/video conference. All of these are cloud business solutions that we are getting increasingly comfortable with. They allow us to improve communication and minimize turnaround-time (TAT) in the service we as CAs provide to our clients.
Technology has great benefits. I personally know of many reputed firms who have harnessed its true power and are reaping its benefits. There is so much we can learn from them. I have also found my seniors extremely supportive and motivating; they help us move in the right direction. It would be worthwhile to pick up some tips from our seniors on how technology can be put to better use.
To sum things up, there has never been a better time for us CAs to engage with our clients. There are several options available to us and no matter what we choose as our path, we must reap rich dividends. We must learn more about how technology can be adopted for use in new & exciting areas of tax and finance. We must keep ourselves updated with the latest technology and given we are in the Silicon City of India, we must strive to be at par with the best of the world vis-a-vis the use of tech solutions in our profession.
To read the full summary of the expert webinar, head here.