For far too long, bookkeepers and accountants have been held back by their clients. They’ve had to wait for clients to get them information, often late or incomplete, meaning that accountants and bookkeepers have had to make sense of their clients’ business.

But you no longer have to worry about this— technology has come to the rescue. Electronic submission methods and fetch technology make waiting for your clients’ shoeboxes of source documents a thing of the past. Huge leaps in optical character recognition combined with deep levels of integration with web-based platforms mean that data entry (AKA key bashing) is also a thing of the past.

As soon as your client takes a picture of their supplier invoice or forwards an email receipt into the system, the bookkeeping process is underway. Bookkeeping now happens throughout the month—not just at the end of the month. That means the books are closed much more promptly, giving business owners almostreal- time financials with which they can make better business decisions.

Making technology do the heavy lifting means your people transition from data processors to account managers and possibly advisors. With technology taking care of the data processing, you can grow your firm beyond what you first thought possible. When everything is web based, you can recruit talented people from around the country and attract clients from across the globe. The list of benefits keeps growing.

Understanding your workflow is fundamental to your success. Your first step should be to process map the key steps in your service offering. How will you collect source documents? Do you need a Point of Sale (POS)? How do you make time collecting and payroll seamless? Then, how do you make this information flow directly—with as little data entry as possible— into the general ledger?

After your process is mapped comes the fun part—picking the technology to take care of a particular function. You’re no longer restricted by suite offerings. Instead, you can create a best-of-breed platform specifically for your clients’ needs. As you refine and fine-tune your process, you will obtain greater clarity on your cost structure, thus putting you in control of your pricing model.

The future is here! Cloud-based solutions are here to stay, and they present an exciting opportunity for accountants and bookkeepers who want to revolutionize their business models. The ability to scale, the opportunity to provide your clients with quicker, better financials, and the chance to work anywhere at any time makes it an exciting time to be in the bookkeeping and accounting industry (something you don’t hear every day)!