2020 Vision: Taking a macro view on better practice technology

SOME OF YOU may have noticed that my recent blog posts have been rather lacking, or in fact non-existent! I’d love to say that I’ve had far better things to do, but in fact the lack of writing has simply been down to a hand injury, and I am under doctor’s orders to refrain from using the keyboard for the foreseeable future.

While this might seem to be a problem for most accountants, I tried to find the silver lining in this situation, and as soon as I looked for it, I found it! So that I can maintain the current writing momentum but for my book, and indeed stick to my commitments for blog posts such as these, I decided to investigate dictation software. It became apparent that Dragon was the market leading software, so I headed to PC World to purchase a copy of it.

This was the first observation that I had from the situation: upon arrival at PC World, I realised that I haven’t owned a computer which has CD drive for many years. There was little point in me buying a boxed piece of software…

I guess old habits die hard, and I guess that this is the same automatic process that clients will go through when purchasing accounting software. Perhaps an educational challenge for the likes of Xero and QuickBooks to overcome?

Found in translation

Putting this IT incompetence to one side, I returned home to install the software from the Nuance website and found that dictation software can do so much more than simply transcribe letters.

The professional version of the software can do all sorts of things, through preprogrammed macro functions. This might sound complicated, however I can see this being a real time saver for practices of all shapes and sizes.

For example, a macro could be set up for ‘new clients’, which could open up the practice management software, and select the various options to open a dialogue box to enter the new client record.

Another macro could be ‘tax return’, whereby the computer would go through the various button clicking required to prepare a tax return for a client once the data has been entered. Now, it has been more than ten years since I have ‘done the numbers’; however I can see that not much has changed in the world of accountancy from the practitioner’s perspective, and there seems to be huge time-saving opportunities here at first glance.

I’d love to hear comments from any practitioners that are using software such as this to automate their operational processes, as I feel that across a large team, the time savings could be tremendous.

And yes, this whole blog post was prepared using dictation software. I’m a little rusty with the whole concept of dictation, having not dictated letters for quite a few years…

Carl Reader is a director of Wiltshire-based firm d&t, which won the 2013 British Accountancy Award for Independent Firm of the Year-Wales and South West England

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