And what it means for accountants and the client of the future.
by David Bergstein
The digital future is coming faster than you think.
Blockbuster, a store featuring rental videos and DVDs, once had over 4,000 locations in the United States. They filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and were eventually sold to The Dish Network, which kept about 500 stores open.
Competitors such as NetFlix, where a movie can be ordered through your television or downloaded to a computer, are the reason why consumers no longer want to wait in line at the store and worry about returning their rental.
This is just one example of an innovative company that is slowly becoming obsolete by new technology. Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics predicts that even the DVD will be gone in six years. Other products and industries that are expected to sunset, at least in their present forms, are:
- Wrist watches
- Paperback books
- Instruction manuals
- Greeting cards
- Car keys
- Tollbooth agents
- Credit cards
- Retail coupons
Groupon purchases have replaced traditional coupon clipping. Bills can be paid with PayPal, direct-debit from your bank account, or providing the numbers off of your check over the phone. Consumers can take a photo of a check using a cell phone in some instances!
Here’s Qualman’s vision of the world:
What does this mean for the accounting practice? The client of the future prefers to communicate digitally wherever possible. They will be working from their mobile device such as a cell phone or tablet and sending their financial information via a secure web connection such as a portal where they will collaborate with their financial advisor.
The accountant of the future wants to be connected to the information they want whenever they want. They will be scanning documents upfront and keeping track of everything in a document management system tracked via a web based workflow system. All of this lends itself to utilizing cloud technology.
In fact, the accountant of the future will be more involved in analytics rather than compliance. The data of the client will be captured at source directly from credit cards, bank information and other sources via the cloud.
See the future of screen technology: