Online the biggest growth area for accountants

ONLINE SERVICES are seen as the biggest growth area for accountants in the next 12 months, according to research from accountancy technology giant Sage.

Nearly three quarters of accountants said online services represent the biggest shift in their working practices over the next three years with 41% claiming online will be the focus for the next 12 months.

According to the Sage study, 71% of accountants work away from the office on a regular basis which explains why 42% said that there was growing interest from clients in online collaborative reporting.

The popularity of mobile technology such as smart phones, and tablets has seen nearly 60% of accountants use those devises.

However, accountants in practice are failing to see eye-to-eye with SMEs on what services should be offered using apps. They believe bookkeeping, tax planning and compliance services are best for mobile technology, while SMEs believe final accounts, business planning advice and financial services would be better.

“For the generation of entrepreneurs brought up with Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook, sharing information online with their accountant is as natural as online banking, and there is a significant opportunity for accountants here,” explained Jim Scott, (pictured) managing director, Sage Accountants Division.

“The key thing accountants need to do is show that they understand how their clients want to work together and are able to provide that service. Online accounting isn’t right for every business and so it’s important that accountants and clients are able to choose how and where they access their data.”

The survey was conducted by Redshift Research surveyed 372 accountants in practice and 305 directors in SMEs.

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