The Next Revolution in the Accounting Industry
The next revolution in the accounting industry, after the advent of computers and software, has some strange
characteristics. This revolution could kill quite a few accounting practices while create fortunes for those
that survive. Many accountants are quite unaware of this coming revolution while they alert ones are taking
advantage of it and running ahead with it. Very soon they will be way ahead and out of reach for others to
Every industry goes through its natural phases of transformation. As time goes, new technology becomes
available, and new processes are developed. Internal and external factors contribute to the transformation
process of all industries. Accounting industry is not an exception.
Only a few years ago very few accountants used software to prepare tax returns for their clients. Some even
considered it a pride that they were smart enough to prepare tax returns without using software. Within a
few short years, almost every accountant in the country uses some kind of tax preparation software to
prepare tax returns. Now it is not a question of whether an accountant uses software to prepare tax returns,
but of which software the accountant is using. Times have changed significantly in the accounting industry.
Observant accountants may notice how fast things changed in their industry.
Unlike only a few years ago, it is almost unimaginable how any accounting practice could function and
survive without computers and accounting software. There is probably not a single accounting practice in
the country that operates without computers and software for tax and accounting. Only a few years ago, a
large number of accountants did not consider computers or software as something that would be able to
enter their industry. They thought nothing would replace their ability to prepare a tax return. They thought
nothing could replace their ability to balance a trial balance and prepare financial statements out of it. Their
denial has turned into widespread acceptance within a short time.
Accountants are now in a new phase of denial. This time they deny that it is ever possible for an accounting
practice to operate without papers. They deny that it is ever going to be possible for accountants to operate
without papers, period. There has been a lot of talk about paperless offices coming for years. Numerous
articles have described how the world will change with paperless business operations. However, the
predictions have not come true at the speed people were expecting. The topic lost its attraction over time.
Thus, the denial of accountants that there could ever be a paperless office for them is justified.
The fact is that the paperless office is sneaking up on us. The technology that is required to convert business
operations into paperless operations has become remarkably affordable. Small CPA practices can now go
paperless with an investment of as little as $2,000, on their own. Times have changed significantly in this
area but unfortunately, accountants are not noticing this trend.
The technology is available, affordable and quick. Yet there are thousands of accountants in the country,
who are not even aware of this change coming in their industry. Just like it is unimaginable that an
accounting practice could operate without computers and software today, within a few short years, it will be
unimaginable that an accounting practice operates WITH PAPER.
The nature of this change is such that it could be devastating for many accounting practices. When
accounting and tax software came about the process of adopting the change was not that difficult. You could
go forward with a new way to operate very easily. You would purchase the software, train yourself and start
using it, going forward.
Going paperless, however, is a culture change of a great magnitude. It brings about major changes in the
way the offices work. It requires a major change in work flow processes. The conversion process also
requires good planning and implementation. Conversion is not difficult but it does require special planning
and attention. There is a significant revolution brewing in the accounting industry, unnoticed by many,
which could damage and kill many small accounting practices, while make fortunes for others. It is the
paperless revolution that could bury a few accountants under their own papers.