top of page

The role of the accountant / tax consultant in the new landscape of cloud computing

The advantages of cloud computing and in particular Software as a Service (SaaS) have been written and discussed many times. However, they usually focus on the advantages for the company, the benefit to the so-called "bottom line" (the company's financial result) and various technical details that mainly concern the IT department.

But there are other benefits for employees in the company, different for each position. And of course, there are benefits for its accounting department (assistants, supervisors and accounting manager).

In this article we will focus on the accountants / tax consultants who work as external partners of a company and who do not seem to have been sufficiently "educated" even today, about their benefits. To be more specific, we will focus on the integrated Business and Accounting Management software application. There are many different products in this area such as cloud, infrastructure, platform, etc., but in this article we will focus on the integrated applications, (which are of particular interest for Greek businesses) that have been installed on the accountants/tax consultants premises on behalf of their clients, i.e. the companies that they accommodate.

A Cloud Computing solution completely changes the accountants' work model

First of all, it should be noted that such kind of solutions completely change the working model of the accountants. They no longer keep their client's accounting books in a system that resides in their own office, simply because these (the books) are also "in the same cloud" together with the other business, commercial management applications chosen by their client. So, in order to perform the tasks that they have been assigned (accounting statements, cash flow, VAT returns, etc.) the accountants "enter" the same "space" that other users of the client enter. It goes without saying that these applications have all the security mechanisms that allow users to see and manage the information that they "should" and are authorized to access and not other information. It would be unacceptable if, for example, that a warehouse employee could access the company's General Ledger or that the accountant could change the price lists for the sale of goods, etc.

Since this general description of the new working model has been understood, let us examine the benefits for the accountant and the available functionalities and facilities.

Internet access from anywhere, anytime

First of all, a truly cloud-based Commercial and Accounting Management solution is accessible from the internet without the need for any local installation and, perhaps, without any particular security needs from each access point. Thus, the accountants are free to perform their tasks without geographic location and time constraints. They can work from the comfort of their office and if they need to complete a task that is due "tomorrow morning", they do not have to stay up late at their client's premises.

The work will get done faster, with less stress and without having to "set an appointment". Many accountants have to do a lot of scheduling for their work in an attempt to organize it, saying "on Monday I'll go to client A, on Tuesday to client B, and so on." No longer is there a need for this strict scheduling. Instead of being ruled by the "schedule", they will be driven by the actual "need". And of course, they can easily transfer from one customer to another, since the "transfer" is... "virtual".

Reduce costs per customer and save time

Obviously, this working model significantly reduces costs per client but at the same time saves time for the accountants "on the move", who can now serve more clients, with obvious benefits for themselves. At this point one might say that as long as costs are reduced, the charge to their client could be reduced in order to 'beat' the competition. But this is not a correct approach because it leads to a price war. Instead, the correct approach, in our view, is that "by reducing the cost of trivial tasks, they can increase the quality of the provided services rather than reduce the fees".

Automation of tasks

We can easily assume that a Software as a Service solution should be an integrated solution, of new technology and design, which will simplify and even automate the updating of the accounting books for any commercial transaction performed. So instead of manually entering a large batch of records this will be done automatically and the accountants will have a set of statements/reports ready for business reporting. It should be noted here that cloud-based solutions which provide only accounting functions (therefore addressed by default and exclusively to the Accountant), to our opinion are also considered obsolete.

Ability to provide new additional services and upgrade the role of accountant

Accountants often say that "if I am not there, present, at my client's premises, I can not justify my fees." This view is, if nothing else, outdated. The internet or web technology era in general is changing many business models. For example, retail is increasingly based on e-shops, wholesale has many special B2B requirements.

The same applies for accountants: The type of services they provide is not the same as in the past! The value of their service is not the posting of document expenses and producing a balance sheet when required for example. The value of the accountants today is in the new, additional services they can provide to the business. For example, to see where there is an increased cost and to properly advise the entrepreneur. To work more systematically on an automated cash flow, to better organize customer monitoring with long standing balances, etc. So not only will they justify their work and the money they earn monthly but they will also upgrade their role and possibly ask for extra fees! So, in the end, cloud computing is not their "enemy" but it is their ally or the "vehicle" to promote additional (and value-added) services to their customers.

To make another technical comment, we must say that these goals are clearly not achieved by simple "accounting programs" that exist in abundance in the Greek market but only by integrated systems, from which the accountants can derive information from other systems and not only from the "accounting entries" that they post (or at best case that they "bridge" with their local software applications).

Our proposition

We, at E-ON INTEGRATION had these concerns - or rather "goals" - since the early stages of designing E-ON RIX, a suite of Business Commercial and Accounting applications. That is to say, how to offer benefits not only to the business and its internal managers, but also how to treat the accountant/tax consultant as an integral part of the business and not as a visitor and processor of typical tasks. With this in mind, we provided adequate answers and up-to-date solutions to all the issues that concern these professionals. For E-ON RIX Business and Accounting application suite see more here.


bottom of page