How has technology changed accounting? Whether you’re a tech enthusiast or used to doing things the old-fashioned way, you can benefit from knowing the answer. The role of technology in accounting has become critical in recent years as more organizations go through digital transformations.
Manual, paper-based processes have evolved into processes that are driven or at least supported by technology. From artificial intelligence to robotic process automation, technology has impacted every accounting area, especially tax accounting.
Which trends are making waves in this financial function? Check out some of the most prominent ones below.
Technology In Accounting: 7 Trends
1. Cloud Computing
More and more companies are transitioning their operations to the cloud. Instead of using on-premise systems, they are taking advantage of system services through the internet, a practice called cloud computing. If you pay a subscription fee to access a service or app, you’re also taking advantage of cloud computing.
“Cloud computing makes information management more streamlined and centralized, much to the benefit of the accounting function,” says Andrew White, digital consultant and founder of TechGearoid. He notes that the cloud enables instant access to data and resources irrespective of time or location. Moreover, you have virtually unlimited storage space.
The role of technology in accounting has become critical in recent years as more organizations go through digital transformations.
2. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
You’ve probably already heard about RPA technology in accounting as it’s not a new concept. However, its applications continue to grow and expand every year. Not only can it help you gather data quickly, but it can also move data between applications, run reports, populate forms, and more.
For example, say you need to collect certain data from several websites every year to inform your accounting processes. Instead of having your team spend hours hunting down this data, you can use RPA. Namely, you’d configure bots to automatically access and capture data from your desired websites—a task called scraping.
3. Machine Learning (ML)
ML is in the same space as RPA, except that ML takes tasks to the next level. Instead of simply doing exactly as programmed, ML technology can apply context around tasks, enabling a greater purview and added efficiency. In other words, it has the capability to learn and make predictions without explicit programming.
For example, you can develop an ML model to handle asset classification in property taxes. Take the computer category. You may have a variety of computer models across locations, and it would be time-consuming to identify every model to classify. You can teach your ML model to recognize that it should assign all models of “Dell Latitude” or “Dell Inspiron” to the computer category.
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4. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI picks up where ML falls short—namely in being able to learn beyond predefined knowledge areas. In comparing AI to RPA and ML, AI is the closest to the human capabilities of complex understanding and interpretation. AI can, with the help of large quantities of data, build its own algorithms that help determine the right way to perform a task.
“If you’re asking ‘How has accounting changed?’, AI is a solid answer,” White explains. “Labor- and time-intensive aspects of accounting, such as audits, tax preparation, banking, and payroll, are becoming partially or even fully automated thanks to technology like AI.”
White says accounting tasks are being integrated with self-learning systems, eliminating the repetitive, time-consuming number-crunching from an accountant’s job description. “This means that accountants can now expand into more strategic and value-adding roles like data analysis, interpretation, and management.”
5. Accounting Software
Accounting software assists companies by performing accounting tasks with greater accuracy and agility. Instead of having to do calculations by hand or in a spreadsheet, this type of software does a lot of the heavy lifting involved in accounting processes. There are many solutions available in this space—some cover a multitude of accounting areas, while some focus on a niche, such as property tax.
“I have noticed a large increase in the number of businesses using accounting software,” says Jake Hill, CEO of DebtHammer. “It’s incredibly helpful for small businesses who might lack the manpower to perform in-house accounting or want to optimize their business operations.”
6. Tax Bill Payment Solutions
Tax bill payments can be time-consuming in the property tax space, especially if you have many locations. These bills tie up not only your property tax team but also your accounts payable (AP) team—not to mention the opportunity for bottlenecks and errors in handoffs from one team to another.
MetaTaskerPT extracts pertinent data from tax bills you receive from collectors and exports it to TPT. Then, TPT can either prepare a file template for import into your AP system to cut checks or integrate with Anybill to eliminate AP’s bill payment efforts. With Anybill, you get updates on check status—when it’s sent, received, cashed, etc.
7. Virtual Offices
A virtual office enables your workforce to operate remotely by using a combination of some of the technologies mentioned previously—chief among them is cloud computing. Accessing services via the internet means employees aren’t tethered to office workstations. They can instead work from anywhere, anytime.
As part of the finance department, the accounting function has traditionally been slow to adopt a virtual office model. However, as technology in accounting has evolved and recent global events have forced the function to adapt, virtual offices have gained prominence.
The pandemic, for example, inspired many property tax teams to seek virtual and automated solutions to their traditionally paper-based processes. This led them to tools like TotalPropertyTax (TPT), intelligent property tax software, and MetaTaskerPT data extraction software.
You Need Technology In Accounting That’s Tailored To Your Property Tax Needs
CrowdReason provides the solutions—and the support—you need to conquer the property tax appeal process. Our team members have extensive experience with property taxes—we’ve filed returns, appealed valuations, and managed tax bills. As a result, we understand what you’re trying to accomplish and have designed our software to handle nearly any challenge you can throw at it.
Our advanced data extraction software MetaTaskerPT makes data entry a thing of the past. TPT is intelligent property tax software that helps you track deadlines, identify assessment reduction opportunities, reduce return filing time, and make more informed tax decisions. Combined, these solutions help you generate unparalleled efficiencies in the property tax cycle.
Come join the crowd of happy clients who are conquering their property taxes with our tax automation software. Schedule a demo today.