Saturday, 23 February 2008

Accountants Helping Clients with Technology

AccountingWeb just published the results of a survey by their British counterpart that should be read by Canadian accountants interested in technology.

While in spirit accountants might like to get involved with e-business, the reality of their current knowledge and workload means that only a small minority are able to help clients take advantage of new technology opportunities.

E-Commerce is no longer new or bleeding edge technology. Many main stream large companies depend on web traffic for a significant part of their revenues. Accountants have an important role to play in this area: adding their business savvy to the technological solution. Let me give you an example. A former client was building an internet portal which would serve as the middle man between customer and manufacturers. Their goal was to provide a streamlined, 24/7 service in exchange for a small fee added to each transaction. Our company was engaged to import the resulting transactions into the accounting system. The implementer, an accountant, asked the key question, what happens if the customer wants to cancel the order. Simple, replied the technology consultant, we just reverse the whole transaction. Does that mean that the company gives up its transaction fee? asked the implementer. Certainly not! replied the client and a major system rewrite was initiated.

Information Technology is like any other specialty for accountants. It requires a large investment of time to gain the specialized knowledge and you have to keep renewing it. But it's worth it!