CPA Practice Advisor

OCT 2018

Today's Technology for Tomorrow's Firm.

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24 OCTOBER 2018 ■ www.CPAPracticeAdvisor.com ADVERTORIAL Cloud Computing 2018 intuit.com Q: How can accountants manage their practices more efficiently in the cloud? A. For most accountants, there are a ton of moving pieces – with different clients, staffers, deadlines and deliverables, it can be difficult to ensure everything stays on track and nothing falls through the cracks. Leveraging cloud technologies can greatly help accountants manage their practice more efficiently and eliminate the fear of missed deadlines or forgotten deliverables. Foremost, it allows accountants to check in on project status from anywhere – whether a laptop in the office, a tablet while running errands, or a smartphone at a child’s soccer game. Working in the cloud means accountants have online access to all the tools they need to manage their firm’s and clients’ work, saving time and becoming more efficient along the way. Q: How can accounting professionals make the transition to the cloud and what advice would you give those making the transition? A. Making the transition to the cloud and embracing new technology innovations is crucial to becoming a true Firm of the Future. These firms are bold, innovative and recognize that embracing technologies will drive them to succeed and grow. Increasingly, small businesses are expecting that their accounting professionals will be online (80% of SMBs expect to be using online accounting software by 2020), and while the transition can be daunting, it’s necessary. My number one piece of advice to accountants making the move is to not be intimidated. Understand that moving to the cloud is not going to happen overnight. It is a gradual process that will take some time. Start by understanding the strengths of your firm, the goals of your clients, and setting clear expectations and guidelines about the process. This will make the transition much smoother for all parties. Q: I hear a lot about Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence as it relates to the cloud. How can these technologies help accountants better serve clients? A. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) aren’t new technologies. Both are embedded into our daily lives already through tools like auto correct on our mobile phone and email spam filters. Within the accounting industry, AI and ML are having a significant impact. AI and ML technologies can automate certain processes or tasks and eliminate low value work (i.e. data entry), which increases productivity and efficiencies that give accountants more time to provide clients with higher value, strategic insights and counsel. What’s crucial to note, however, is while AI and ML are making significant strides, the human element remains vital. While ML and AI can classify data, recognize images or patterns and predict a likely result, humans are still required to explain what these insights mean and help their clients take action in order to prosper and grow. Q: There’s a lot of information about apps. What are the benefits of using cloud-based apps and how can I choose what is right for my clients? A. According to our research, 68 percent of small businesses use an average of four apps to help manage their business. Apps can help small businesses and accountants customize and personalize QuickBooks for each individual small business client, streamlining data and expanding capabilities, doing everything from helping clients manage inventory, to tracking their employees’ time to expense management. There are now 590 published apps specifically designed to work with QuickBooks Online in the QuickBooks Apps Store (www.apps.com). The Apps tab within QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA) is a wonderful tool that empowers accountants to easily identify relevant apps for their clients and add them directly to their clients’ QuickBooks Online, as well as their own firm. Recently, the Apps tab was refreshed for accountants, making it even easier for them to find the best “right-for-me” apps for their firms and clients. In addition to smaller apps, Intuit also has an open platform approach and connects with mega platforms used by many small businesses including Amazon, PayPal, Square and ADP. Q: How can accountants use cloud technology to take advantage of global market opportunities? A. We know that accounting Firms of the Future are no longer competing for clients locally, but globally, and with 89 percent of small businesses being more successful when they work with an accountant, making it easier for small businesses to find an accountant is a priority. This is why Intuit has the Find-a-ProAdvisor website, where more than 1M small businesses look for an accountant each year. The marketplace, available to small businesses both directly within QuickBooks Online and through the standalone Find-a-ProAdvisor global websites, better presents the information small businesses most want to see, in a mobile-responsive design, that allows them to find their perfect QuickBooks ProAdvisor match, anytime and anywhere. All QuickBooks ProAdvisors with an active QuickBooks Certification are eligible for a free listing on the Find-a-ProAdvisor marketplace. Their profile pages include content fields such as social page links, years in business, and languages spoken, allowing them to market themselves to prospective clients. Q: Where can I get more information on how I can better serve my clients in the cloud with QuickBooks Online Accountant? A. Visit https://quickbooks.intuit.com/accountants/ for more information. ARIEGE MISHERGHI Accountant Segment Leader, Small Business Self-Employed Group Ariege Misherghi leads the Accountant Segment within Intuit's Small Business Self-Employed Group. Misherghi is responsible for driving the overall business strategy, development and delivery of Intuit's professional accounting products and services. She is focused on helping accountants around the world grow, better manage their practices and transition into the role of strategic advisor for their clients. Her team is responsible for QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA) and the QuickBooks ProAdvisor Program.

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