This is an exciting time, which is not a phrase usually associated with accounting. Technology is advancing at an amazing pace. Even though your first thought may not be how technology advancements apply to the preparation of your business financials, rest assured it does.
In the past, having a CPA prepare monthly financial statements for a business was cost-prohibitive for many businesses. The reason being, the CPA had to provide a report based on attestation procedures along with the prepared financial statements. This anticipated that someone outside of management might use the financial statements. That obviously adds time, which in turn adds costs.
That, however, has changed.
Thanks in large part to the two acronyms below, accounting services performed by CPAs, specifically the preparation of financial statements, are more accessible to the average business than ever before.
The first factor leading to a change was “Statement on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS) number 21.” SSARS is the professional standard CPAs use in preparing financial statements. WIth the issuance of SSARS 21 in 2014 (Section 70 specifically), the report generation and attestation procedures requirements mentioned above were removed in most cases.
As a result, you get only the information that is of value to you, and it is delivered in a timely, cost-efficient manner by your CPA.
The second major factor in making CPA-prepared financials a feasible option for more businesses is the proliferation of Software as a Service (SaaS). Per Wikipedia, SaaS is “…a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted.” It’s what people commonly refer to as cloud computing.
The reason SaaS is having such a major impact on accounting is two-fold:
- Individual clients can both submit and access information without having to download software. All that is required are login credentials.
- Banks and other financial institutions also offer online access to accounts, making it easy for accountants tointegrate live data with the general ledgers used for financial statement preparation.
By having so much readily-available information, CPAs can provide management with virtually real-time access to accurate financial statements. This also enhances internal controls, affording management the peace of mind to concentrate on running the business.
If you aren’t already taking advantage of these advancements, maybe it’s time you did. If you’re tired of administrative functions occupying your time, or you’re still preparing financial statements internally because you think you can’t afford a CPA on staff, there is a better way. And it is more accessible to businesses than ever before.