New tech breakthroughs fuel client expectations.
By Hitendra Patil
Addressing the question "Why Would Amazon Want to Sell a Mobile Phone?," the Harvard Business Review says the basic principle behind any disruptive innovation is that the fundamental things people try to do in their lives actually change relatively slowly.
The accounting profession has been witnessing a hammer and tongs message about disruptive technologies in the form of cloud-ifying practice management. Accounting and tax software long ago debuted on tablets and cell phones. And just when we start to think that nothing really new is coming into the technology market, we start getting hints toward the future.
Here are three things that the Amazon Fire Phone can potentially tell the accounting profession and technology vendors:
1. Firefly Technology
Amazon says Firefly identifies printed text on posters, magazines, and business cards – make calls, save new contacts, send emails and visit websites without typing long addresses. The apparent Optical Character Recognition (OCR) or Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) technologies are being bundled in more convenient ways now that smartphones are getting smarter.
Accountants can now expect to be liberated from scanners and even expect their clients to use similar technologies to send them the source documents – in “importable” formats that can be directly used in accounting and tax softwares.
2. Mayday 15-second, 24/7 customer service response times
Amazon further says, in effect, "Hit the Mayday button in quick actions and an Amazon expert will appear to help you via live video. Our tech experts can co-pilot you through any feature by drawing on your screen, walking you through how to do something yourself or doing it for you – whatever works best."
Now consider your small business client who is trying to figure out the financial statement you sent her. Accountants can “appear” on their device and co-pilot them through each figure on that profit and loss statement. The added advantage is that, as you appear on their device, you strengthen a “face-to-face” relationship with your client. The catch? You have to be always presentable as if you are going to be on national TV!
3. Immersive apps and games that use Dynamic Perspective, Firefly.
Amazon focused on a new technology – Dynamic Perspective – asking you to dive into a new class of immersive apps and games – peek to see detailed views of clothing, shoes and more.
Will accounting and tax software be “gamified” to take advantage of such dynamic perspectives to show profit and loss “buckets” separately? When a business owner wonders how he made a loss when he sold more last month, can the Firefly-enabled accounting software app help you cross-sell or upsell another of your services?
Innovations, not necessarily groundbreaking inventions, do “Fire” human desire to do more with less and do what was not hitherto possible. The Wright brothers imagined. Edison imagined. Steve Jobs imagined. And they converted what they saw into reality.
Watch out, accounting pros. The future is coming!