The digital accountant: is your firm behind the curve?

Research report

In association with BrightManager

Business, just like wider life, is all about being able to adapt to change. The accountancy profession is no exception.

If anything, adaptability is essential. Accountancy has moved far beyond the world of simple business bookkeeping and payroll to services that focus on actionable business advice.

Some pundits might say there won’t be many more ways accounting firms can diversify in the future.

Others say technology, like cloud software, process automation and analytics could see accountancy firmly into the future.

That means some of your competitors might catch on before you, leaving you behind. You can’t afford to be behind the curve.

We’ve put together this research in association with AccountancyManager to tell you everything you need to know, from where others in the sector are making gains to where you could too.

The results show whether accountants really are getting the most out of technology and leading the way for their clients.

This report looks at the following main themes:

  • Businesses value technology to improve their processes
  • Clients want you to be visible and contactable online
  • Online competition is a top challenge for SMEs
  • Regulatory compliance is a big concern
  • Helpful tips on how you can use technology to your advantage.
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About this report

This report was created by Tom Ford at PracticeWeb.

In association with BrightManager


We all know the stereotype: the accountancy sector is traditional, old-school, stuck in the past.

But that’s hardly the truth, with new technology revolutionising the accountancy sector in recent years. Or so goes the story.

That’s why we’ve put this insight report together – so we can evaluate whether accountants really are getting the most out of technology and leading the way for their clients.

But why is technology important? And why is it worth investing in?

This report will tell you everything you need to know, from where others in the sector are making gains to where you could too.

We ran a survey, asking business owners about their accountants to try and find out about their attitudes towards technology and the ‘tech-savviness’ of the modern accountant.

We’ve also spoken to some accountants who have embarked on their own digital marketing journey, to hear their views on the place of technology in the accounting industry today.

Tom Ford
Assistant Editor, PracticeWeb

Tom Ford


We partnered with BrightManager on this Insight report because they’re on a mission to revolutionise the accounting industry, by using technology and partnerships to enhance accountancy at the day-to-day and industry level.

BrightManager is a multi-award-winning, cloud-based practice management software – designed by accountants and used by thousands of accountants, bookkeepers and payroll businesses across the UK.

About the research


This research has been conducted through a combination of quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews with SME owners and accountants in the UK.

Between 22 and 25 April 2022, we surveyed 400 people who described themselves as a business owner or partner with an accountant.

The results were then weighted against census data to reflect the general business population. This was followed by one-on-one research interviews with accountants, which have been quoted throughout the report.

How your firm can use this research

This report has been designed to offer as much practical advice and tips as possible based on what we found in our survey results, so we would recommend you read through each top tip section as a place to start.

As our results demonstrate, just as digitalisation is a top priority for SMEs that want to beat the competition, digitalisation and technological skills should be a priority for anyone working in the accountancy sector. That’s no surprise, as online competition continues to grow and Making Tax Digital makes tax compliance harder.

Of course, business owners face an array of challenges, most of which technology can solve. But what brought our respondents together was their wish for an accountant who understands how to use technology to benefit their business. Indeed, many would pay more for a tech-savvy accountant.

Not only does tech give you the perfect opportunity to keep in close contact with clients or help them get to grips with modern accounting practices, but it might be just what you need to entice the next generation of business leaders to stick with you for years to come.

Throughout our survey, we found that a lot of SMEs want their accountants to use technology to solve problems and speed up processes. So, don’t disappoint – apply what you’ve learned to your practises.

Get in touch with us to hear how we can help your firm through digital marketing.

You can also visit the Knowledge section on our website for blog posts, guides, webinars and more.

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