To keep your small business moving full speed ahead, your bookkeeper must embrace technology beyond the spreadsheet.
Small business owners, by their very nature, are risk takers. Their accountants, however, usually are not.
“Accountants tend to be risk averse,” says Kenji Kuramoto, founder of AcuityCFO and CEO of AcuityComplete, a financial services company in Atlanta. “That translates to accountants being slow adopters of technology.”
Number crunchers who embrace IT at dial-up speeds could bring a small business to a halt. “A company could end up with a very antiquated, manual and costly process because it’s requiring too many people to do something that’s easier when automated,” Kuramoto says.
So, sure, an accountant still needs proficiency in Microsoft Excel. But small business owners looking to hire an accountant need one skilled with tech tools not usually specified in an accountant job description.
With employees in California, Georgia and Tennessee, software-as-a-service company Cirruspath in Orange County, Calif., uses collaborative software tools such as Dropbox and Google Drive to stay efficient and accurate. Instead of sending a document via email, these collaborative platforms allow Cirruspath co-founder Brandon Bruce to track changes made by anyone to a document in real time.
“It creates a much faster workflow,” Bruce says. “With accounting, a big focus is on accuracy. How do we make sure everyone is looking at the same version, same document, and that everyone has the numbers that are most up to date?”
These tools have been the answer to Bruce’s question. “We consider ourselves a startup. We’re building a bigger team, and as we add more people and more customers, that increases complexity from a financial standpoint,” he says. “Having these tools keeps us all on the same page and helps us grow at the speed we want to grow.”
Video Conferencing Software
For small businesses expanding beyond state lines, streaming video services allow employees, including the accountant, to strengthen relationships. For example, Bruce, who works virtually from Knoxville, Tenn., with his company’s headquarters in California, embraces videoconferencing platforms to help build trust with his accountant.
Services such as Skype, Google Hangouts and Apple’s FaceTime allow small businesses free or inexpensive ways to connect online. These tools can also add a personal touch to a relationship that is geographically divided. “Having that trusted relationship with someone who understands our numbers and what we’re doing is important,” Bruce says.