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A new age of accounting in the clouds

Via Yahoo : A new age of accounting in the clouds

Nathan Hood and Jamie Davidson are part of a new age of accounting.

Osborne Park’s Carbon Group Accounting founding partners say the profession has come full circle in recent years.

“Going back 100 years, the accountant used to do everything for their client,” Mr Hood said.

“They would sit at the dinner table and before anything was actioned, you would run it by your accountant.”

Mr Hood, 34, said that before the advent of computers and accounting software MYOB, the accountant had a bigger role in their clients’ lives.

“Technology increased the ability for people to do day-to-day accounting themselves through MYOB software, so the need to see the accountant was less,” he said.

During the 1990s and early 2000s the bulk of accountants’ work was around compliance, particularly tax returns.

Mr Hood said during this era, advisory work took a back seat.

“If clients wanted advisory work they would ask for it, but it wouldn’t be something that just naturally happened,” he said.

The advent of cloud-based technology in recent years has put advisory work back at the forefront, Mr Hood said.

Xero and similar software products including QuickBooks allow accountants to see a client’s data in real time.

“Due to that, the accountant is back in a position to be able to advise, knowing where a business is headed instead of having to guess,” Mr Hood said.

“Compliance will remain, but it will go hand-in-hand with advisory work.

“You don’t need to go and sit at the client’s dinner table, but we can get on the phone and give advice. This means we can take more of an active role in a business without it costing the client a fortune.”

CPA Australia head of policy Paul Drum agreed cloud-based technology was a game changer.

“Our members in public practice have been embracing the opportunities afforded by technologies for decades and cloud-based systems are the next leg of evolution in technology,” he said.

“In a technological timeline some points are more profound than others – the advent of the personal computer and excel were turning points, cloud-based software is another turning point.”

Mr Drum said accounting would always be about helping clients add value to their business.

“Technology will continue to change but engagement with professional accountants adds value much more than can be realised by tools and systems,” he said.

“The adviser can analyse and forward plan. Value-adding is much more than software.”

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