At Dext, we’ve been documenting the rapid rise of digital commerce and the opportunities it brings to the accounting industry. But, like all seismic change, the rate at which things evolve rarely comes to a grinding halt. In the case of digital commerce, it appears things are accelerating once again.
McKinsey reports that e-commerce sales doubled in the past five years – and expects those to double again by 2026. This is, of course, fuelled by purchasing behaviour and the widespread shift to point-of-sale systems (POS) and online shopping. What’s more, it all lends itself to the idea that we, as a society, but more so as an industry, are entering a new and accelerated phase of digital commerce.
What does it look like?
While we may have already seen the steepest spike in the rise of digital commerce, it shows no signs of slowing down. As the almost universal shift to online consumerism continues to grow, we look at what that means for accountants, bookkeepers and their clients.
Increased digital adoption and more channels
The rate at which consumers buy online will only increase. This is likely to be aided by the arrival of new types of subcategories within digital commerce, like social commerce – the global value of which is estimated to reach nearly $3 trillion by 2026. The more accessibility people have, the more likely they are to buy. For accountants and bookkeepers, that means more channels and more data that needs categorising and consolidating.
Unmatched developments in tech and data
The evolution of technology, and readily available data, is the driving force behind digital commerce. The channels we buy from are constantly improving in order to satisfy consumer preferences. There’s also the use of artificial intelligence to tailor buying experiences – whether that’s facial recognition payments or real-time chatbots. Speed and accuracy of data is vital to keep up.
Even higher customer expectations
The level of innovation we’re seeing paves the way for giant-sized customer expectations. As you know, consumer behaviour remodels itself based on what’s available. With the number of buying options and e-commerce platforms at an all-time high, people will naturally expect more – both from experience and infrastructure. It’s up to businesses to match that. So entrepreneurs need to focus their attention away from mundane admin tasks and dedicate their time to their customers’ needs.
What does this mean for digital commerce accounting?
The biggest risk to businesses is not realising these changes – and the same can be said for accountants and bookkeepers. Digital commerce functionalities are, as McKinsey describes, currently seen as a “bolt-on”, peripheral part of business operations. In addition, many businesses are stalling on the decision to make digital commerce a top priority due to concerns over various types of software failing to integrate.
The point is: the same goes for accounting. Just as businesses adjust to suit the needs of their clients, so must accountants and bookkeepers. When your clients pivot, do your best to follow. Or at least try to put a framework in place that accommodates the direction they wish to take. If you’re providing advisory services (which is the high value add most businesses expect from accountants now), it can be up to you to lead the way and guide your client through such changes.
As digital commerce continues to grow, so will the number of clients that operate in that space. Those clients need accountants – but, most of all, accountants that are ready.
Ready for digital commerce accounting?
If you’re an accountant and bookkeeper looking to add digital commerce accounting to your firm, but unsure on where to start, we’ve compiled a number of resources to help you with your first steps. Here, you can learn everything you need to know, from the fundamentals to expert insights.
To get hold of your free starter pack, all you have to do is click below.