It’s quite amazing how quickly we get used to technology. Today, you probably wouldn’t think twice about making a purchase online or signing into your bank account from your smartphone. Yet not too long ago, companies such as Ebay and Amazon tested the market to see if the public would be ready to do commerce online.
Today, estimates of the North American ecommerce market surpass 297 billion USD. In 1995, Royal Bank became the first Canadian bank to offer information online and within a year, the site was receiving an average of 8,500 hits per week. During the same time, you would probably encounter some resistance if you had told a parent that their eight year old child would really benefit from doing homework opposite a computer screen with an online tutor in India. Yet millions of users now use the overwhelming number of online tutoring options available and participate in the multibillion dollar industry.
There is no question that the internet has changed the way people interact and do business.
So what about your accountant?
Many business owners will still travel to their accountant’s office, wait in the waiting room, then drop-off a “shoe-box” of receipts at year end. If CRA conducts an audit, some clients will spend hours searching for paper documents in aging filing cabinets. Work flows are interrupted by obstacles in the paper trail, documents go missing, resources are wasted.
There seems to be a large gap between the wealth of online services offered in other industries and the way modern business owners interact with their accountants.
The same business owners who paper-file their taxes in an accounting office are the same people that purchase office supplies online, meet clients on Skype, and manage their files with Dropbox.
As a business owner, the interaction that you have with your accountant should match your lifestyle.
Why waste time or mileage travelling to your accountant’s office when the same work can be accomplished with a Skype call and an Adobe signature in minutes? If we have learned to trust online banking tools and can learn from online tutors, a meeting with an accountant online, is not only something that we can trust, but something that will be demanded. In a market where business owners aim to maximize efficiencies, accountants must do their part to keep up.