What Your Business Needs Now

Accounting and finance departments and their management teams will need better decision-making tools to address their companies’ survival, no matter how big or small the company is. There’s so much cool technology to aid companies with their myriad of choices that it’s hard to know what to do with it all!

The worldwide pandemic showed us we could use the technology we didn’t think we needed six months ago to alter the way everyone does business. We adapted. For instance, we now know that remote workers require extra security, different and more robust software programs, and communication enhancements across the board. We handled it with technology. Here’s a little about the near future for various industries and resource levels.

What is the new cool (!) technology?

The July 27, 2020 issue of Forbes Magazine’s tech contributor Bernard Marr lists the six biggest technology trends in accounting and finance as follows, all of which affect the entire decision-making process in companies today.

• Big Data                                                     • Intelligence* of Things
• Increased Computing Power                 • Autonomous Robots
• Artificial Intelligence (AI)                       • Blockchain

Here’s a short description of each of these from the article.

Big Data: “provides insights that help improve internal operations and build revenue.”

Increased computing power: “ … from quantum computers will be able to provide services and solve problems that weren’t possible with traditional computers… a tremendous value in the financial world.”

Artificial Intelligence: “ … will help accounting and finance professionals be more productive, allowing machines to take over time-consuming repetitive and redundant tasks.”

Intelligence* of things: “When the internet of things, the system of interconnected devices and machines, combines with Artificial Intelligence, the result is the intelligence of things. These items can communicate and operate without human intervention and offer many advantages for accounting systems and finance professionals. The intelligence of things helps finance professionals track ledgers, transactions, and other records in real-time,” all of which help businesses make better decisions.

Autonomous Robots:  ” . . .robotic process automation (RPA) can handle repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as document analysis and processing, which is abundant in any accounting department.”

Blockchain:  “A distributed ledger or blockchain is a highly secure database. It’s a way to securely store and accurately record data, which has broad applications in accounting and financial records.“

If you think you’re not there yet …

While some of these technologies seem to be taken from scenes out of the Minority Report movie or the Pixar Studio Wall-E animated film, we’re convinced that many clients are using more of these technological inventions than they realize.

As we move forward, we will see that smallish businesses need to be connected to bigger businesses to grow their companies. Plus, manufacturing firms, automobile dealers, produce growers, delivery companies, healthcare providers, and many more are already using some “futuristic” technologies to run their businesses.

For instance, U.S. farmers are using AI combined with autonomous robots to assist with the harvest. As more business transpires internationally, the blockchain interface will make financial services more available, secure, and fair for businesses of all sizes.

As we see it, almost everyone (depending on their industry or business) will be increasingly faced with making choices on when and how much to spend on breakthroughs in technology from now on.

Frequently Asked Questions (With

Trending Technology in 2020

What kind of new technology does your business need to improve efficiencies?

Answers)

We work with businesses of all sizes, for which we are very grateful. These are the questions we are already receiving from our CFOs and business owners.

Q. What should we spend our technology money on in the accounting and finance areas and elsewhere now and as we advance?
A. We know that the possibilities are endless and expensive! But basically, you will need hardware, software, and people overlaid with a robust communication system that connects them all.

Q. Which one should we do first — purchase hardware, install software, or hire employees?
A. Unfortunately, the three must be addressed almost simultaneously. They can’t work independently of one another, but you can have a plan, so you don’t self-destruct. Read on.

Q. What are we going to do about technology changes “on Monday morning”?
A. Scott Allen, in his keeping-up-with-technology for small businesses post, suggests these simple steps. We think they can be applied to any sized business.

  1. Determine your technology needs for – Service. Sales. Manufacturing. Communication, etc. (In the race to keep up, this step is often overlooked.)
  2. Assess existing resources – What hardware, software, and people do you have? What do you need to make all the parts move together correctly? Is training needed? Hiring?
  3. Rank the resources’ importance while keeping your time, cash, and (leveraged) assets in view. Which of the resources will require most of your time or your managers’ time? Do you have the cash? Are you leveraged to the teeth? Which will make the most significant difference on the bottom line? How is your risk tolerance?
  4. The worst thing businesses can do is think next week will be the same as this week or last week. Convene consistently (perhaps weekly)  to revisit steps 1 to 3.

Confidence in the Future

Back in the March 20, 2020 issue of Forbes Magazine, the CIO network editor for Forbes magazine Martin Giles, indicated that COVID-19’s impact had changed CIOs’ outlook on technology spending in many ways. He listed:

  • Immediate and longer-lasting IT budget cuts in some industries
  • Increased spending on technologies that support remote work
  • Cancellation of non-essential tech projects and hires
  • Cuts in budgets for software and IT service providers
  • A more turbulent transition towards cloud computing

Some of those adverse outcomes remain.

However, an August 27, 2020, press release report from IDG’s CIO – the executive-level IT media brand providing insight into business technology leadership – changed that tune. From this CIO Pandemic Business Impact Study, the outlook is more confident and future-facing. “According to the results, although cost control/expense management remains top of mind, organizations are realizing the necessity of technology solutions to enable them to steer the business during these turbulent times.” Here are the highlights.

  • Tech Budgets See a Resurgence
  • Digital Business Continues to Be a Top Priority
  • Technology Investments Due to COVID-19

Doom and gloom in March have turned the corner with a positive perspective for a future that will be pushed and protected by technology.

Technology is, at the same time, the safest defense and strongest offense for staying in the game.

Conclusion:

The 14th-century poet Geoffrey Chaucer said, “Time and tide wait for no man.” The newer applicable phrase today is, “Time, technology, and tide wait for no man.” The forces of change from the 30,000-foot big-business level down to the social-six-foot small-business range will differ only in scale.

These are heady times. Starting at the bottom, with your needs (as simple as that sounds) is the easiest way to make positive changes. Begin this next coming Monday morning to assess where you are and where you want to be. And if you need help getting started, contact us. We would be happy to talk tech with you.