Accounting is a fundamental part of any business, and accountants are generally educated in the field of accounting alone, with very little consideration given to where technology is headed. However, within the rapidly changing tech universe, the tools themselves are constantly changing, and the days of paper ledgers and pen-and-ink signatures are, for the most part, in the past.
Rich Preece, global accountant segment leader at Intuit Inc., spoke with John Walls (@JohnWalls21) and Jeff Frick (@JeffFrick), co-hosts of theCUBE*, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, during the QuickBooks Connect event in San Jose, CA, to talk about how the accounting world is adapting to the fast-paced, ever-changing world of technology that is inceasingly moving to the cloud.
Adapt or get left behind
Traditional accounting has always been a “pen-and-paper” type of job since its inception. It was very much a hands-on environment, from collecting signatures to routing paperwork to recordkeeping, Preece explained. However, with the inception of cloud computing, many of these day-to-day job functions in the field are being automated, and that means the accountants behind these functions also have to learn about the technology and adapt with it or be left behind.
“These are people who have historically used desktop products, billed by the hour, and haven’t necessarily partnered with third-party apps. And, of course, the world has changed,” said Preece. “Much of the work the accountant did, frankly, has been automated. If you don’t make that move to the cloud, you will go out of business at some point.”
The push back from accountants
The transition to the cloud has not been an easy one. Some accountants seem to be of the mind that there will always be some people who dislike technology or that somehow the old way will survive in some form, but in reality that is not the case, Preece stated. Many customers are already doing their own taxes or accounting using third-party or online apps, and that number is growing every year, he added.
“There is a groundswell of, ‘It won’t happen to me,’ when the reality of it is, it will happen to everyone,” Preece said.
However, not all accountants are rejecting the transition to the cloud. Some are embracing it. And according to Preece, the number of cloud early adopters is currently around 50 percent, with more and more following every day. It is a big fundamental change to accounting method as a whole, and the job function of accountants will be changing with it. So it is understandable that many would be reluctant to make the switch, he added. But they are getting there, albeit slowly, and Intuit is doing what it can to futher educate them on the technology to make the switch easier for them.
“When we talk to accountants, 76 percent of them say they plan to move to the cloud, so certainly I think the education is taking root. It’s about taking the steps and actually moving from a desktop world to a cloud-based world,” Preece said.
Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of QuickBooks Connect.
*Disclosure: Intuit and other companies sponsor some Quickbooks Connect segments on SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE. Neither Intuit nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.