2018 has flown by and we’ve had another busy year, helping accountants, bookkeepers and business owners work smarter by eliminating their manual data entry. Elsewhere, the industry has continued to evolve, with new technologies and new ways of working impacting how firms operate and interact with clients. So here’s our take on some key industry trends and a few of our own personal highlights:
Tech adoption driving practice growth
Use of the cloud, AI and automation has continued to skyrocket, as more businesses adopt smart solutions and accounting software to help them work more efficiently; as well as apps to support areas including payroll, onboarding and data entry. By incorporating digital tools to help simplify everyday processes, accounting and bookkeeping firms have been able to spend more time advising clients and growing their practice.
In fact, over 80% of businesses now believe that AI is a ‘strategic priority’ and will give them a competitive advantage. Use of other technologies including the internet of things (IoT), data analytics and optical character recognition (OCR), continue to grow, with the OCR industry in itself expected to be worth 25bn by 2025. Investing in OCR-based solutions can really pay off, as they’re often inexpensive to run and enable users to become much more productive by converting large amounts of text from paper documents into editable digital formats.
The EU GDPR changing our approach to data security
The introduction of the EU GDPR last May means that businesses must carefully manage the ‘personal data’ (i.e. information that could lead to an individual being identified) it holds on employees and customers. This legislation counts for both accounting practices in the UK and those international firms which deal with EU-based citizens. Non-compliance is not an option and suffering a data breach could lead to significant fines if the right protocols haven’t been followed.
This has led to more businesses using record keeping software such as AutoEntry to help them to more easily locate their personal data and store it securely. It has also led to businesses becoming increasingly selective about the cloud software they’re using and the quality of data security certain solutions offer.
Driving engagement with digital marketing
More accounting firms, and indeed all businesses, are adopting a digital marketing strategy to more effectively market their services to new clients. In fact, almost 4 in 10 businesses now have a ‘clearly defined’ digital marketing strategy. Either by hiring an in house digital marketing manager or by upskilling the existing team on SEO, social media campaigns, mobile, video and email marketing; accounting firms are creating more personalised content and reaching new audiences through targeted digital outreach.
Updating our software
Since launching AutoEnry in 2016, we’ve continued to work hard to refine and enhance its features to ensure it remains the most intelligent data entry solution in the market. Among other updates, this year we released:
Opening our US HQ
At the beginning of the year, we officially opened our US HQ in Tucson, Arizona. We’ve grown our local team there and were delighted to announce tech evangelist and prominent industry figure, David Leary, as our latest recruit. David will help to bring AutoEntry to new audiences and will work alongside our development team to drive forward some exciting new updates for 2019. Stay tuned!
Launching our Partner Program
We launched our partner program in June, which is now available to all accounting and bookkeeping firms. Partners can help their clients to become more productive through their use of AutoEntry, whilst benefiting from the generous incentives offered by the scheme. This includes revenue based on their clients' AutoEntry purchases and free practice credits to use in house.
We’ve had an overwhelming positive response since launching the program and we look forward to welcoming even more partners next year!
Following our win of ‘Add on of the Year’ in the 2017 ICB Luca awards, we were thrilled to pick up ‘Expenses and Document Management Software’ in this year’s awards, as well as being nominated for ‘Friendliest Software Provider’.
We won ‘Expense Management Software of the Year’ in association with The Accountant and The International Accounting Bulletin. We were also shortlisted within Accounting Web’s ‘Accounting Excellence’ software awards, the MYOB Partner Add-On awards and the British Small Business Awards. Phew!
Our thanks again to our wonderful customers and partners, we couldn’t have done it without you!
…And new business
AutoEntry is now the trusted service provider of more than 2,500 accounting practices worldwide, through which over 70,000 businesses are using the platform. AutoEntry is available in all English speaking markets and in the last 12 months we’ve significantly grown our presence in the US and Canada, Australia and New Zealand. We were also delighted to officially launch AutoEntry in South Africa in partnership with QuickBooks. Next year, we’ll continue to grow our presence in these markets and others, watch this space!
All in all, it’s been a terrific year and we look forward to bringing AutoEntry to more firms in the future. So roll on 2019, we can’t wait to see what’s in store!