The accountant’s role within a business is not what it once was. As the times change, businesses change with it, and technological advancements have made a huge impact on the accountant’s role within a business.

Here are three key ways that accountants, and the accounting process, have changed in the last two decades.

Reactive vs. Proactive

The primary difference between current accountants and accountants of the past is in the scope of their responsibilities within their organizations.

In the past, a business’s accountant was largely occupied with bookkeeping and tax prep. While they provided valuable input that would help upper management decide the company’s next moves, accountants were focused on helping business owners get a clear understanding of where they stood in the present.

The role of the modern accountant is much more proactive. While they still oversee the financial comings and goings of the business, accountants today should serve as trusted advisors to managers and business owners. In addition to balancing the budget, modern accountants help businesses improve their processes, find funding, and strategize for the future.


Location, Location, Location

Internet and the Cloud changed business forever, but one of the key ways it influenced the business world was by decentralizing the company’s location.

Before the widespread adoption of the internet, a business’s accountant had to be in close proximity to the company he or she represented. Accountants would simply have no way of knowing what the company’s finances were without having the paperwork in front of them.

Now, location is not as big of a deciding factor. Some companies may still want to hire locally so the accountant can have a physical presence at meetings and other business-related functions, but others are free to hire the accountant that will best suit their needs, even if he or she is on the other side of the country.


Speed & Accuracy

Traditionally, accounting was tedious work. Entries were done manually, and even the slightest mistakes could mean hours of recalculation and error-correction, assuming the error was noticed in the first place.

For business owners, the key takeaway of modern accounting is that it’s much more efficient. Mistakes are easier to find and correct, and instantaneous computer calculation helps eliminate many errors before they happen. This results in a lower margin of error and faster job completion.


Interested in learning more about how accounting has changed, and what a modern accountant can do for your business?