Why do today’s accountants need a globally agile tech stack?
The modern-day accountant’s guide to success in an ever-changing market
This article was originally written by KeyPay and published in Issue 32 of XU Magazine.
With the rise of automation, cloud-based apps, and increasing client demands, the accounting industry has changed drastically. Accountants are no longer solely focused on compliance and basic number-crunching. Almost 95% of businesses globally fall into the small-to-medium (SME) category. As SMEs generally have bold growth goals, are price-conscious and time-poor, they’ll often seek out the services of an experienced accountant.
As such, the role of the accountant has shifted - requiring modern-day accounting professionals to provide value-adding advisory services such as payroll, expense management, inventory control, HR, timesheet tracking (all in addition to essential accounting services). There’s now a growing need for accountants to provide a competitive offering in order to attract prospective clients.
How can accountants add value beyond basic accounting services? How expensive and time-consuming will this be to implement? Is the juice worth the squeeze?
Building a robust tech ecosystem: work smarter, not harder
Enter: cloud software and the agile tech stack. It’s a buzz word that you may be hearing more and more. Simply put, a tech stack is a combination of technologies, apps and software that a company uses to run their business. This can either be integrated directly via API connection, or simply just be the combination of tools that you use for your day-to-day business processes.
Most accountants either operate independently or within a small team, and aren’t payroll or HR professionals. An optimised tech stack can be valuable in bridging the knowledge gaps that lean teams often have - rather than doing everything yourself and trying to become a “jack of all trades”, pre-built software can be leveraged to each firm’s needs.
So why do accountants today need a tech stack - and a globally agile one?
Provide clients with a competitive edge
Prospective clients aren’t just looking for traditional accounting services. They’re looking for value-adding advisory and additional services that take the extra weight off their shoulders, such as help with pay runs, time and attendance, and employee onboarding. There’s well over 2 million accountants worldwide, and the competition is fierce. More and more accountants are expanding their services to fill in the gaps that clients would prefer to outsource - particularly when it comes to services such as running payroll for clients and their employees. If you aren’t already offering payroll and workforce management services to clients, now is a great time to consider adding this to your offerings.
Cloud software such as KeyPay, an online payroll and workforce management platform, saves time for busy accountants. KeyPay services over 750 partners and 200,000 businesses across Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Malaysia. By automating calculations, eliminating paper-based expense claiming and leave requests, data is streamlined. From timesheets, into the pay run, and into external accounting platforms of each accountant’s choice, you’ll never need to manually handle client information again.
Offering payroll to clients will also give you a competitive advantage. By increasing your firm’s flexibility and offering more value to clients with diverse needs, you’re widening your reach for new business prospects. A wider pool of clients means more revenue for your business. More revenue means more opportunities to grow your business at scale, and you can even start to consider entering global markets with such a competitive tech stack in your armour.
Save time and reduce costs
Accountants are great at what they do, but many aren’t experts in everything outside of that realm. Leveraging existing tech and established platforms is a great way to competitively acquire clients, but will also save your firm so much time. In a 2021 Wolters Kluwer survey, more than 50% of firms struggled to keep up with legislative changes.
Rather than pouring money and time into training a team to upskill their knowledge of local legislation, adding compliant payroll software to your existing tech stack will help to bridge the knowledge gaps. You’ll still benefit from providing added services to clients, without the worry or stress over costly legislation errors. You’ll also save time on payroll processing itself for clients, as one of KeyPay’s UK accountancy partners - Coates Business Services - found: “KeyPay has saved a phenomenal amount of workload for us with automated payroll and approvals. We’ve saved so much manpower, time, and staff resources by moving over to KeyPay.”
Building up your app stack will also save time for accountants from having to dedicate resources to maintain the software. By investing in outsourced software for added features like document management (Staffd), employee self service (Roubler) and employee onboarding (EmployeeConnect), you’ll only have to run it for clients. No building solutions from scratch - which streamlines costs, improves your team’s agility and allows you to take on more clients in less time.
Powerful payroll: the missing piece in an agile tech stack
Payroll and accounting almost always go hand in hand. As a Xero connected app partner, KeyPay prides itself on our flexibility in integrating into industry-leading platforms across HR, accounting, workforce management and more. Our trusted cloud software works in synergy to allow accountants to create a powerful app stack that’s competitive and adds value beyond basic accounting services. We help to:
- Save time by automating manual, repetitive tasks
- Streamline modern award interpretation (in Australia), Holidays Act compliance (in New Zealand), CIS deductions (in the UK), CPF calculations (in Singapore), and PCB calculations (in Malaysia)
- Seamlessly transfer data between payroll and accounting services to eliminate manual data handling