Top 4 Tech Tools on Accountants’ Wishlists

by Sarah O’Sullivan

After making your way through the wishlists of friends and family this holiday season, don’t forget to think about the items you or your firm need for the new year. LeaseQuery’s Accounting Technology Wishlist Survey polled over 200 accounting professionals across sectors. Results revealed the top technology tools accountants are looking for to increase their capabilities, improve regulation compliance, meet client demands and reduce costs.

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Accountants are ready to devote capital to purchase their priority wishlist items. After several years of industry growth and profitability, 71% of accounting professionals have cash ready to deploy for technology investment. It’s important to make those investments count by purchasing the right tools. 

Here are the most-wanted items on accountants’ wishlists for 2023:

1. Automation tools 

At the top of accountants’ wishlists are automation technologies. Accountants reported their top driver for investing in technology (79%) was a need to save time and increase efficiency. Automation tools offer the ability to speed up tedious processes while also ensuring accuracy by removing human errors. Efficiency and accuracy are essential for accounting professionals looking to keep up in today’s workplace environment, as clients are demanding more services at a quicker pace than ever before. 

While some once feared that automation would be detrimental to the accountant role, financial professionals now see automation as a vital means of reinforcement. Accountants’ most-desired automation function (60%) was data entry, followed by reconciliation (54%), data analysis (49%) and billing/invoicing (33%). While these tasks are critical to their work, many accountants know firsthand that manual processes are time-consuming, which can divert time and attention from other important duties that require the human touch. As the accountant role requires increased critical thinking skills, automating detailed tasks like data entry will allow accountants to devote more time to strategic client consultation or other intensive work. 

2. Compliance technology

Over half (52%) of accountants said that higher accuracy/compliance was their top priority for technology investment, and 38% of accountants reported that improving compliance was a motivation for investing in technology. Firms are still adjusting to new accounting standards from the last few years, and as changes continue amidst the FASB’s proposal for another update to their lease accounting guidance, compliance is an essential capability for today’s accounting technology. Accounting software can help ensure that you and your ​​company abide by the latest guidance, so you and your clients do not have to worry about the financial and legal consequences of noncompliance.

Many project tracking or collaboration tools can also help accountants keep track of task completion status and stay on top of deadlines, which is especially important during busy moments like the year-end close and reporting cycle. Accountants today are expected to balance a range of simultaneous client demands and deliverables, so pen and paper will no longer suffice. Technology is essential for the modern accountant, who works across multiple projects, clients and teams at once. 

3. Proper technology training 

The right tools will ultimately be ineffective without proper training. Thirty-five percent of accountants reported that the biggest accounting technology challenge is internal change management, adoption and training. If you’re planning to invest in new financial technology for your firm, be sure to have proper training measures or educational resources in place to help employees adjust to these new tools and integrate them into daily operations.

It's also important to check the full capabilities of your existing technology before purchasing new tools. Only 22% of accountants felt that their previous investments in accounting technology were very successful. Often, insufficient training means that many accountants are not utilizing their technology to the fullest of their abilities. Hosting educational sessions and training courses throughout the year will ensure that you or your employees understand your current tools’ complete range of capabilities. 

4. Advanced security measures 

Accountants are looking for tools with robust security measures to protect their clients’ data. Accountants’ top cybersecurity concerns were phishing, smishing or vishing (73%), malware or ransomware (66%) and data leakage (42%). Considering that 1,130 organizations experience cyber-attacks each week, it’s not surprising that accountants are dedicating more resources and focus on data and account protection, with 40% of them planning to invest more in cybersecurity in the coming year. For the 60% of accountants who do not plan to invest more in cybersecurity in the coming year or haven’t decided on a plan of action, it’s essential that you understand the current security measures behind your existing technology tools. The importance of practicing caution online or while using any cloud-based tool cannot be overstated. Accountants can give themselves the gift of security this year by updating their passwords frequently, monitoring file/account access and collaborating with IT departments to ensure that their technology vendors have appropriate measures in place for data protection. 

Be prepared for the year ahead 

Almost two out of three (63%) accounting professionals reported they are developing or behind in their technology journey – but today’s market won’t wait for them to catch up. With hybrid operations now a staple of many workplaces, and many clients expecting quick and detailed services that only technology can enable, accountants must keep up with the latest tech tools and skills or risk being run out of the market. 

By investing in these wish list tools and capabilities, accountants and their firms can avoid falling behind and set themselves up for success in 2023. 

Sarah O’Sullivan is Senior Director, Product Accounting at LeaseQuery