It’s more important than ever to stay up-to-date with the latest digital trends and best practices to stay competitive and provide the best possible service to your customers.
From data analytics to digital marketing, there are many digital skills that can help you streamline your work, increase your visibility, and increase your bottom line.
In this article, we explore what digital tools are available, how they can benefit your work as an accountant, and where you can turn to for support and resources to develop these skills.
Here’s what we cover.
What are digital skills?
When we talk about digital skills, we mean acquiring the knowledge and abilities to navigate new digital technology.
With the rise of cloud accounting software, your practice can already perform many accounting tasks digitally, but your digital skills don’t have to stop there.
For example, you can take your marketing efforts to the next level by using social media and sharing content online and via email.
Having strong digital skills is becoming increasingly important in the accounting industry as technology continues to play a significant role in the professional lives of both you and your clients.
Why are digital skills important for accountants?
Being aware of all the tools available to your practice will ensure you can use them to gain business insights and make informed decisions.
You will be able to save time and resources and ultimately provide better service to your customers.
Additionally, having strong digital skills enables you to collaborate and communicate effectively with your colleagues and clients, especially as remote working becomes more common for teams.
You also have a unique opportunity to help your customers develop their own digital skills.
By sharing your knowledge and experience, you can help them better understand how to use these tools to streamline their own processes, improve their efficiency, and ultimately grow their business.
You can provide training and support to your customers on a range of digital skills, including accounting software, data analytics tools and cyber security.
By doing so, you can establish yourself as a trusted advisor and build stronger, more collaborative relationships with your clients.
By helping your customers develop their digital skills, you’ll help them stay ahead of their own industries.
8 digital skills accountants need to learn and use today
1. Social media
There are a number of ways you can use social media to achieve your business goals. For example, LinkedIn is a great place to connect with other industry professionals as well as potential clients.
Twitter: and Facebook can be used to share valuable insights and industry news, helping to build brand awareness.
YouTube and TikTok are great for educating your customers on key topics that are relevant to them.
And you can demonstrate thought leadership by sharing expert insights on LinkedIn or publishing articles on Medium.
You can use LinkedIn job postings or promote your practice culture on Instagram to promote recruiting.
And for customer engagement, you can use Facebook groups, Twitter chats, or Instagram Stories to provide updates and answer customer questions.
2. Data analysis
There are powerful analytics tools like Power BI, SAP Analytics Cloud, and Sage Intelligence that often integrate with your accounting software.
You can use these tools to identify trends and patterns in your client’s financial data, providing more accurate financial reporting.
For example, data analysis can help identify a decrease in your client’s sales over a period of time and identify it as a reporting error or seasonal trend that can be addressed in the future.
You can also use data analytics to analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) and improve your client’s decision-making using data-driven insights, such as identifying areas where costs can be cut to improve company profitability.
3. Customer Relationship Management
When it comes to customer relationship management (CRM) software, options like Salesforce and HubSpot CRM allow you to better manage and analyze customer interactions so you can provide personalized support and insights into customer behavior and preferences. :
For example, you can use CRM to improve customer satisfaction by tracking customer inquiries and responding in a timely manner to address their concerns.
You can also use CRM to identify new business opportunities by analyzing customer data, and improve revenue forecasting by better understanding their needs and preferences.
It is also a valuable tool for improving customer retention.
This is because you can provide targeted communication and personalized support to customers who haven’t engaged with your services in a long time, all while ensuring that team members are working towards the same goals by using a centralized platform to manage customer interactions :
4. Video conference
Video conferencing software such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet allow for face-to-face meetings with clients without the need for in-person meetings.
This can save time and reduce travel costs, as well as improve collaboration and communication between team members.
With video conferencing, you can easily connect with other team members located in different offices or even in different countries, enabling you to work together more efficiently and provide timely and accurate information to your customers.
5. Digital Marketing and SEO
Digital marketing can help you increase your online visibility, reach a wider audience and generate leads.
For example, you can use search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your website’s ranking in search results, and other digital marketing strategies such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to attract potential customers.
6. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a cost-effective way to stay in touch with customers, keep them informed of important financial news and deadlines, and provide personalized support.
You can use email newsletters to share financial tips and insights, provide updates on tax law changes, or highlight your services ahead of key financial dates during the year.
And when clients see you regularly in their inbox, your practice will stay top of mind.
Another benefit of using email marketing is that it can help you generate new leads and grow your customer base.
By offering a valuable lead magnet, such as a free financial report or consultation, you can encourage potential customers to sign up for your email newsletter.
Once you have their contact information, you can nurture these leads by sending them helpful emails and eventually converting them into paying customers.
7. Content Marketing
You can use content marketing to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.
Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable content online, such as blog posts, articles, and videos, that address the needs and concerns of your target audience.
This way, you build trust with the prospect and position yourself as an expert in your client’s area of expertise.
For example, if you work primarily with small businesses, you can write blog posts on topics such as financial planning for small business owners.
Another benefit of using content marketing is that it can help you improve your search engine rankings and drive traffic to your website.
By creating high-quality and informative content that is optimized for search engines, you can increase the likelihood that your website will appear in search results when potential customers are looking for advice.
8 Cyber security
Cyber security skills will help you protect your customers’ sensitive financial information from cyber threats.
Your accounting practice processes a lot of sensitive financial data, including personal and financial data, on behalf of your clients.
If this data falls into the wrong hands, it can lead to serious financial losses, reputational damage and legal consequences.
With good cybersecurity skills, you can implement appropriate security measures to protect your customers’ data from hackers, viruses, and other cyber threats.
Where accountants can get support in learning digital skills
There are many resources to help you learn new digital skills.
Professional bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), the Association of Chartered Accountants (ACCA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) offer a range of resources, training and networking opportunities that can help you stay up to date. with the latest trends and best practices in digital skills.
Check out their websites for upcoming trainings and events, and sign up for their mailing lists to stay up-to-date on the latest industry news.
In addition to professional associations, you also have access to online learning platforms such as LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and edX.
These offer platform courses and tutorials on a wide range of digital skills that can be tailored to your specific needs. By taking advantage of these courses, you can gain practical skills and knowledge that you can apply in your work.
Finally, software vendors can also be a valuable resource for you to learn new digital skills.
Many offer training and support resources for their products, including accounting software, practice and client management platforms, and other digital tools.
Using these resources, you can learn how to use new tools and technologies more effectively, and keep up with the latest developments.
Developing your digital skills as an accountant is essential to thrive in the ever-changing business world.
Helping your customers develop their own digital skills can also help you build stronger relationships.
There are many resources to help you learn and stay up-to-date with the latest digital technology, and many of them are free and easily available online.
By continuing to adapt and improve your digital skills, you can position yourself as an industry leader and deliver first-class service to your customers.