Technology In Accounting


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Technology is on a fast track and progresses in some fields take place on a daily basis. This does not exclude the accounting sector, where things are not as simple as keeping books to show profit, loss and the balance in the bank. Financial accounting systems have evolved rapidly over the past decade as companies grapple with the challenges of compressed business cycles, rising customer demand and a globalized, expanding customer base. The accounting community is a highly competitive one and in combination with technology things are changing in a very fast pace.
The article "The Best of the Small Business Web" by Leigh Buchanan from Inc Magazine reveals the innovation that technology offers accountants by interviewing Paul Dunn, the founding chairman of Results Accountants' Systems (RAS). RAS offers an on-line community that attracts accountants by providing continuing education and support. Paul Dunn believes in expanding the conception that accountants have on themselves and their professions and is always thinking of workshops, conferences, and other initiatives to achieve this goal. He also believes in showing them how to help their own clients become more profitable.
With this in mind, his company launched a web site and populated it with articles, white papers, discussion forums, and help areas that Dunn and his staff monitor. He also adds a touch of prestige by providing an accreditation as Results Accountants for those active members of the site.
The web site, RAStown, is literally community oriented and provides a collection of buildings, or icons, that reflect their functions. Examples of these are the Library which represents a search for on-line resources, the Chamber of Commerce which represents information for business owners, and a Café which represents discussion groups.
By promoting the use of this powerful web site that contains analytical and informative features, accountants are able to use this information to help them simulate future scenarios and strategies in their own companies. Paul Dunn believes that this on-line resource is valuable to his clients and that this site provides his company with revenue that would not be considered if the site did not exist.
This article proves that the minimum requirement for an accountant who wants to remain competitive in today's fast-paced, ever-changing marketplace is technology. High-speed internet connection is required to interact with clients and access information with the click of the mouse.

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Push Technology, which includes newsletters and other communications sent to clients via email keeps information flowing from the accountant/business to the clients, to peers, and to just about anyone. Cost is another consideration when switching to email distribution of newsletters and other documents to save on postage, printing and assembly time by simply pressing the "Send" button. And as mentioned in the interview with Paul Dunn, having a website is important because the world is becoming more and more Internet savvy.
I agree with this because many, if not all, accountants have computers at their desks. As more organizations adopt performance measurement they will give up decision-making based on hindsight and realize the promise of financial accounting systems and software in making more informed and timely decisions. This is when the accountant must be informed and up to date in technology and accounting forums. Accountants today have many opportunities and challenges when considering technology for their businesses. The challenges make them more valuable to clients. It definitely is not the same world in which many operated their tax practice, but from the articles read; this is a stimulating time to be an accounting professional.


References

Buchanan, Leigh (Nov 1999). The Best of the Small Business Web. Inc Magazine, 93-94
(Nov 01, 1998). Accounting Technology Taking Over. Mercer Business
Read, Jeffrey (Sept 1, 1998) Embedded performance tools add strategy punch – performance measurement to change financial accounting practices. Computing Canada
Wyle, Dave (Dec 2000) Paperless Engagement Systems Give Your Firm Big Five Efficiency – using technology to develop a paperless work environment. California CPA
Stechnij, Barbara A (Oct 2003). Technology for today's accounting and tax professional. National Public Accountant, The


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