September 09, 2020
The real learning is said to start when we leave our comfort zone. Though a pandemic as severe and all-encompassing as Covid 19 cannot be said to have good implications there are positives that can be found. It might seem cruel to cite positives in the face of such a globally threatening pandemic but even as the economy has suffered a toss it is good to know that there have been some lessons learnt which will prove to be of some use in the future. For example, the greatest example perhaps is of the work from home culture that has been kicked in all due to the pandemic. The effects of which especially can be seen in accounting firms.
There have been several technological advancements which accountants have had to manage in order to continue to provide the same streamlined services to their clients. And in doing this Covid 19 has indirectly helped in not only improving accounting practices but also advanced the future of auditing. From paper less working to cloud accounting, from email communication to Facetime, things have advanced on the accounting side. This is undoubtedly a direct side-effect of the scare provided by the pandemic as people no longer can merely work from office. The up surge in work from home has resulted in this new office environment.
The technological angle
Had it not been for the advancements in technology and the internet it is very possible that things would not have turned out this positively. Due to the rise in technology and the ability to easily transfer and store large amounts of data clients of good accountancy firms may not have even noticed the transit from office to home working. Also, for those who prefer to see people face to face, video calling and conferencing has never been easier.
Primarily most people thought that auditing was not possible without actual live on-site interaction. However, given the pandemic and the emphasis on social distancing this cannot be the case in the present scenario. Therefore, to counter this a new virtual world has been boosted and the collection of evidence has found new channels. Tax services are at an all time high as the HMRC hasn’t relaxed any of its reporting norms in the light of the coronavirus pandemic.
When the pandemic initially started the problem most businesses faced was that they were not prepared to suddenly shift their business premises to employee’s homes. Thus, initially people might have faced problems with all walks of services.
Accounting and taxation prior to the pandemic were more traditionally looked at by most firms or clients. However, due to social distancing and the absence of physical documents accountants and auditors have been forced to become inventive. And technology and the internet have obviously helped support this creative wave. More to the point, the situation which was so decisively in the favor of structured working made a definitive thrust towards moving out of the box. Due to this even the accountants and auditors who preferred the old school method were forced to accept a more modern and cloud-based approach.
One cannot ignore the fact that the tools were already on the table before things actually started. What was lacking was the will to actually using them because then as noted before, this would mean crossing the comfort zone. Leaving a comfort zone is in no way something people can counter easily and so it is no surprise that it took a force like Covid to change some things for the better and to everyone’s advantage.