By 2020, only four years from now, smart machines and cloud based computers may be providing the majority of accountancy services, completing many tax returns and parts of audits. This should be seen as an opportunity for accountants to increase their workload capacity, while freeing up more time to expand their services portfolio and attract more clients.  – Dr. James Canton and the Institute for Global Futures, for™

SMBs are facing seismic shifts in the way business is conducted: online, virtual, mobile, always-on, social, global, more regulated and staffed (or even managed) by millennials who have never known a world without smartphones, social media and Internet apps.

The Internet of Things and smart machines are more than smart TVs and connected cars. It’s also your client’s inventories, their business processes, their equipment, financial transactions and nearly everything they do on all the devices they use to conduct their business. And all of the data generated by so many things and activities connected to the Internet is increasingly being used to create data analytics. Your clients will increasingly rely on those data analytics (including predictive analytics) to manage their business.  This can be either a threat or opportunity for accountants. No one is better positioned than the accountant to provide business advice based on these new streams of data.

If you’re still doing business this way, buried by the paper (or shoeboxes) your clients bring in, I want to suggest there is a better way. A way that leverages technology to help you become a more real-time advisor to your clients. A way that takes your firm from one that is valuable at tax time, to one that is valuable ALL THE TIME.

What are the trends impacting accountants today?

The 3rd platform is underpinned by four key technologies:

  1. Cloud
  2. Mobile
  3. Big data analytics and
  4. Social

Gartner refers to this as the “Nexus of Forces”.

Cloud, in particular, has a particularly disruptive impact, forcing change in business models.  The benefits of cloud computing have compelled business of all types and sizes to adopt it. They’re leveraging it to obtain the mobility, reliability, flexibility and costs savings they need  in today’s hypercompetitive world. Those businesses are your clients of today and tomorrow, and they are increasingly expecting you as their accountant to provide them with these same benefits in your solutions.

Accounting Today; April 18,2016: “The Internal Revenue Service is warning tax professionals about a new scam in which cybercriminals obtain remote control of tax preparers’ computer systems, complete and file client tax returns, and redirect tax refunds to thieves’ accounts.”   Cloud-based software provides greater security from such attacks.

Pricing for profit is vitally important for the health and success of your business. Get your prices right, and you’re streets ahead of your competitors. Get it wrong, and you’re dead in the water.

So, how do you set your price correctly? What’s the relationship between cost, price and value? Should the value your customers place on your products and services be reflected in the price? What about your competitors?

This podcast, with accomplished business consultant Ed Kless, senior director of partner development and strategy at Sage, will help you to become profitable in the way you set your price, and avoid costly pricing mistakes.

As we’ve heard, setting your price correctly is crucial to your success. You can achieve this by getting the relationship right between cost, price and value, and pricing on purpose. And by asking the right questions and doing some strategic work on your pricing, you’ll be streets ahead of your competitors.

Sage’s chatbot, Pegg, gives us an insight into the future of apps. This so-called ‘bot’ makes accounting software simpler to use, and let’s businesspeople manage their finances through conversation, through popular messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger.

So, what is a ‘bot’, how does it work, and how can accounting bots make life easier for entrepreneurs and office workers to file their expenses and chase up invoices? And will the future be dominated by bots?

In this podcast, software engineer, Kriti Sharma, Global Director for Mobile Product Management at Sage, explains how the smart assistant technology she created can help businesses to be more efficient.

Sage’s Pegg, is a first-of-its-kind accounting bot that allows business users to manage their finances by sending messages from popular messaging apps. In many ways, this bot opens a window onto the future of smart assistants, which could eventually replace many of today’s apps.

Businesses of all sizes are looking to transform through things like digitisation, social media, automation and web-based apps. With this in mind, the arrival of the bot could mark a significant turning point in business computing.

For too many businesses, receiving, collecting and making payments is a time-consuming and complicated affair. As a result, poor money management throttles your growth and makes you uncompetitive.

So, as you get on top of your payments? Is it possible to make and receive money direct from your accounts and payroll systems? How do you take control over your cash flow and money movements; and how can you give your customers a better payment experience?

This podcast explores the key issues around receiving, collecting and making payments in modern business.

Receiving, collecting and making payments doesn’t have to be time-consuming and complex. With an integrated platform, like Sage Payments, it’s possible to get control over your money movements and cash flow and make domestic and international payments straight from your Sage 50 Accounts and Sage 50 Payroll software.

And by taking advantage of innovations like contactless payment and mobile and tablet computing, you can bring your payment systems right up to date, making you competitive now and in the future.