With 2014 now well underway, it’s important to be aware of the trends that will effect and modernize accounting and finance in the years to come. By understanding where the market is heading, we can identify which solutions are worth investing our time, effort and energy into, and which ones aren’t quite ready for prime time yet. Here are some of the top trends in mobile accounting.
The cloud is making a leap forward
Analysts predict that cloud services will have a compound annual growth rate of 23.5 percent per year in the years to come. Although cloud adoption in the finance sector initially lagged behind other sectors, like HR, sales or marketing, it’s now catching up. With the cloud market about to reach maturity, larger organizations will continue their transition to the cloud to leverage new cloud-based applications as well as retire old technology. Cost reduction will also no longer be the main reason behind moving to the cloud. Executives will realize that the cloud can serve as a springboard for innovation and process transformation, increasing business agility.
Social collaboration is gaining ground
The role of social business tools as part of financial applications is starting to become better understood and appreciated. Social tools circumvent traditional paper-based processes and emails, making audit trails much more straightforward. Instant messenger-type capabilities embedded in accounting applications allow colleagues to collaborate more closely in financial processes and share information, which yields productivity gains. Overall, the user experience is now much more fulfilling and comprehensive, allowing users to see more easily all the information available at their fingertips. This empowers them to work more closely with their colleagues to solve shared problems.
The capabilities of mobile technology range from pure convenience, like the ability to retrieve information from corporate systems at any time and from anywhere, to a more data-rich ecosystem allowing important decisions to be made on the go. The market is starting to see a subtle shift from consuming information on a mobile device to using a mobile device to harvest new information. Users can now participate in corporate processes while away from the office, reducing the need for additional payroll training. Tasks including authorization of expenses and timesheets on a PSA application as well as capturing relevant new information about people, projects, customers, supplier and products can all be completed remotely by someone who has followed accounting courses, which gives the organization more flexibility.
Digital data is now being created at unimaginable rates. The challenge lies in how to identify, access, filter, analyse and use all this information. Real-time analytics enables organizations to take clusters of information and gather them together to identify trends and opportunities. Organizations can generate immediate improvements in business performance and gain a competitive edge on rivals by making operational decisions based on real-time data from the cloud.
All in all, it’s an exciting time for mobile accounting. Businesses are greatly benefiting from the freedom of being able to choose the set of applications that best meet their needs, without having to make any compromises, unlike in the past. The astonishing ability to more easily assemble and integrate functionality in the cloud is what will accelerate the transition to cloud-based services and influence the shape of accounting courses in the coming years.