At Aiwyn we talk a lot about the “Firm of the Future.” The Firm of the Future is not
your parents’ accounting firm, where “business as usual” was the reigning mentality. The Firm of the Future is the firm that is constantly learning and re-learning how to leverage existing and emerging technologies, in order to ride the wave of global digital transformation rather than be washed away by it.
To really grasp the impact of this tech transformation on the accounting industry, we thought it would be helpful to turn our gaze backward and reflect on the past ten years. It’s been a wild decade of change (even for us–we rebranded from Anduin to Aiwyn!), and the firms that are thriving now are the ones that have adopted a future-focused mentality–particularly when it comes to technology.
2012: What’s The Cloud, Anyway?
Let this sink in for a minute: ten years ago, cloud computing and cloud-based applications for businesses was still an emerging tech trend.
A 2012 Accounting Today survey
showed that “67 percent of respondents [representing firms of all sizes] were not using any Software-as-a-Service or cloud-based applications at all
, and 42 percent said that they had no interest in purchasing a SaaS product over the next 12 months.”
But by the beginning of 2022, that stat had completely flipped
: “Nearly two-thirds of accountants plan to adopt some form of cloud computing technology
over the next two years according to a recent survey, and a third of them are expecting to do so within the next 12 months.”
Accounting’s move to the cloud was inevitable, but it was accelerated by the unprecedented pandemic-fueled need for firms to operate remotely over the past 2+ years, according to Aiwyn’s VP of Sales, Bruce Abrams. Bruce, a seasoned accounting tech guru, notes that “it became obvious that the cloud would enable us to survive as a profession and continue to work.”
But moving to the cloud has introduced new security risks, making the choice of tech partners a critical one. The amount of sensitive client data and the potential costs (financial and reputational) of a breach are enormous.
Firms need assurance that their tech partners are trustworthy and competent, safeguarding firm and client data while providing the tools necessary to propel that firm into the future. The field is full of SaaS players, but firm leaders need to use discernment when choosing the right ones to align themselves with. (Pro tip: look at a company’s Net Promoter Score
, a measure of how likely their customers are to recommend them.)
2022: Same Challenges, New Solutions
Back in 2012 a Journal of Accountancy article had pinpointed this problem:
“Failure to set appropriate fees, deliver bills in a timely fashion and collect payment promptly—or even in full—cuts into a firm’s profitability, hurting the business and the accountants in it.”
Lag time in revenue collection isn’t new. The weight of WIP (work in progress) can be crushing for firms. But thanks to advances in Artificial Intelligence, the technology to fully optimize the work-to-cash cycle has caught up to the problem.
Leveraging technology to shorten that work-to-cash cycle is exactly what Aiwyn has done for firms. It’s the reason we exist, and the reason we built Intelligence-Based Billing™ (IBB) and its associated solutions.
One remaining hurdle: historically, Bruce has observed in the accounting industry “a failure to adopt newer technologies,” leading to a “stagnation in back-office workflows, and inefficiencies that can no longer be justified.” His point: the technology is here, and the time to adopt it is now. Firms that drag their feet are at risk of losing clients and talented employees who demand and expect their accounting firm to run on sophisticated technology platforms.
New and Shiny Today, Old School Tomorrow
We’re not naïve–ten years from now we’ll be looking back and marveling at the advances we’ll make from the tools we now perceive to be cutting-edge. AI-powered solutions will continue to get smarter and help firms work more efficiently, unlocking value that we can’t even fathom now. Accounting veteran Edward Mendlowitz says it well: “Everything you are doing today will be ‘old school’ tomorrow.”
By adopting this mindset–one of humility and curiosity–accounting firms and their tech partners can remain nimble, up on their toes and ready to face the challenges of tomorrow.
Here’s to the next decade of change!
Want to hear more about the rise of technology in accounting? Check out what Bruce Abrams has seen in his 35-year career here.
Ready to learn more about the technology that is available to your firm? Schedule a quick demo of our Intelligence-Based Billing™ now.