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Hope Amid COVID-19: The UK Accounting Industry in a Digital Wave

Now that the UK is slowly building its economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are experiencing a tremendous wave of changes that seek to keep their longevity intact.

For the accounting industry, in particular, the revisions brought about by the latest crisis are driven by the significant adjustments that firms needed to make due to forced closures. From “social distancing” consultations and online meetings to remote working setups, both accounting and bookkeeping firms have had to guide their clients through challenges while making sure they adapt as well.

With the road to recovery clearing up, the industry has undoubtedly shown its resiliency and ability to thrive despite surmounting challenges. Among all the different developments that are coming to light after the past few months, a common sentiment shared by many is that the future of accounting is set to be digital.

The advent of digital technology in the UK accounting industry 

During the past four months alone, many firms have experienced significant changes in their systems after adopting various digitally-driven solutions.

As various upgrades, such as cloud file management systems and digital client engagement tools, are now commonplace in most businesses, it’s clear that the future of accounting will be technologically-driven. Even the most traditional accounting and bookkeeping firms now possess a few digital tools in their operations, indicating a rapid shift on the horizon. 

Thanks to the fact that such digital innovations pose guaranteed benefits and far greater resilience and scalability, the technological shift has gone from a COVID-19-imposed necessity to a silver lining for growth!

Boosted productivity by working at home

Despite initial fears held by many over the sustainability of remote working, accounting, and bookkeeping firms, and businesses all over the UK now enjoy increased productivity levels.

Contrary to the pre-Coronavirus levels of productivity, which were outlined by slowdowns rooted in archaic practices, the forced shift to a digital setting has surprised many in terms of efficiency. Instead of solely working on updating sheets and balancing them, accounting firms and professionals alike have the opportunity to further their capabilities by jumping into business advisor roles.

Now that the manual and labour-intensive processes are being handled by automated systems like QuickBooks and Xero, firms have enough time to focus on helping their clients adapt and grow amid adversity. 

Trickle-down benefits

Although it may be clear that this COVID-19 “cloud” has posed some silver linings for accounting firms and industry leaders, the benefits don’t stop at the top of the chain.

In fact, many small businesses have been experiencing significant improvements in their cash flow management as firms have had more time to formulate sustainable solutions. Glasgow firm Russel & Russel, for instance, have taken on a variety of ways for their small business clients to take on more sustainable and effective practices.

Such efforts include a general motivational shift and encouragement for their SME clients to try out applications like Float for cash flow visualisation while providing value-packed webinars. Although these changes may seem minor, the tweaks that firms have made for their smaller clients have also sparked hopes of long-term improvement, growth, and scalability!

Conclusion

While many in the accounting industry expected COVID-19 to become a significant barrier to their firm’s productivity, the digital shift now gives a more hopeful look into the future. With current developments taking full effect on a larger scale, the prospect of accounting is expected to become digital at its very core, which is a testament to adversity becoming a catalyst for positive change. 

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