Online Accountancy Seen as Biggest Growth Area for 2012

online accountancy

by Rebecca Hall on 1 Apr, 2012

New research findings from accountancy tech company Sage have determined that online services are seen as the area with the greatest potential for growth over the course of the next 12 months.

A survey conducted by Redshift Research on behalf of Sage canvassed the expert opinions and experiences of 372 practicing accountants and 305 SME directors, in order to get a picture of how online accountancy is likely to grow into 2013. Almost three quarters of the surveyed accountants said that the online services represent the most marked change in the way they operate, as more clients are eager to embrace this accountancy practice.

As clients become more familiar and comfortable with keeping their accounts online, Sage advised that prospective accountants should become equally eager to adapt and familiarise themselves with these services. This is in conjunction with skills learned from recognised diploma courses such as the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).

Respondents concluded that the rise of mobile technology has had a significant effect on boosting the popularity and ease of online services offered by accountants. Smart phones, laptops and tablet devices have all aided the increased accessibility of allowing accountants to carry out their services online and coordinate more effectively with their clients while doing so. This has in turn also led to an increase in apprenticeships available in junior accountancy support positions.

71% of the survey’s respondents said that they work away from the office on a regular or semi-regular basis. Once again, this emphasised the importance of mobile technology developments and the increased popularity of online accountancy services themselves.

While there is increased interest from SMEs in taking their accounts online, the survey found that SME directors and accountants don’t always agree on exactly which services are most suitable for the online format and which ones should remain offline, primarily for security reasons. Jim Scott managing director of Sage’s Accountants Division, said:

“For the generation of entrepreneurs brought up with Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook, sharing information online with their accountant is as natural as online banking, and there is a significant opportunity for accountants here,”

“The key thing accountants need to do is show that they understand how their clients want to work together and are able to provide that service. Online accounting isn’t right for every business and so it’s important that accountants and clients are able to choose how and where they access their data.”

About the Author

Rebecca Hall

Rebecca Hall worked as an independent mortgage adviser for 10 years before turning to financial journalism full time. She has strong links to the CAB advising families on mortgage refinancing.