We typically think of metamorphosis as a biological process. For example, a caterpillar spins itself in a silk cocoon and then emerges as a butterfly. However, the term – which comes from the Greek word for “transformation” – could just as easily apply to the technological changes that have occurred over the last few centuries. Just two of the sectors that are undergoing a noticeable metamorphosis are the automobile industry and the accounting profession.
Automobiles: From Model T to Model S
In just the past century, the advance of technology has changed the way people travel—from the earliest automobiles to autonomous cars and the ability to hail a ride at the push of a button.
|1908||Henry Ford introduced his Model T, achieving his mission to “build a car for the great multitude… large enough for a family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for.”|
|2011||Fast-forward to the current decade, and self-driving cars are becoming a reality.
Google, BMW, and others made headlines with autonomous car prototypes. Google announced recently that its cars have already self-driven more than 2 million miles.
|2014||Tesla Motors announced its own Autopilot technology, which equips the company’s Model S cars with autonomous steering, braking, and speed limit adjustment.|
|2016||Tesla began equipping all its vehicles for fully autonomous operation, although “before activating the features enabled by the new hardware,
[the company] will further calibrate the system.”
|Now||Tesla Motors’ CEO Elon Musk also announced that he wants to send a fully autonomous car from Los Angeles to New York by the end of 2017— a lofty goal that will require overcoming a number of technological and regulatory hurdles.|
Accounting: From Double-Entry to Cloud-Based
The technological forces that are transforming how businesses function — specifically, how they track and account for their operations — are in some ways as dramatic as those that are revolutionizing how we travel.
|1299||The earliest evidence of double-entry bookkeeping is the Farolfi ledger of 1299-1300. This form of financial reporting provided unprecedented clarity for business owners and their lenders about the health of the business, enabling smarter decisions.|
|1981||IBM introduced its Personal Computer, paved the way for spreadsheets, such as Lotus123, and their more-advanced relative, accounting software. Over the next decade, accounting packages grew more robust but essentially remained electronic ledgers. The process of gathering and keying historical financial data remained primarily a manual affair with plenty of inefficiencies and opportunities for error.|
|1991||A Swiss computer programmer, Tim Berners-Lee, introduced the World Wide Web, an expansion of the Internet that was more than a way to send files. It was a growing archive of information that anyone could access. The Web gave rise to a class of specialized business applications that enabled accounting software providers to offer online software versions.|
|2001||The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) published a background document on a new distribution model: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). An extension of the ASP model, SaaS essentially provides access to software on an as-needed basis, lessening users’ needs to invest in infrastructure and manpower.|
|Now||Today’s cloud-based accounting software harnesses artificial intelligence and machine learning, enabling collaboration between business owners, their accountants, and other business advisors. Furthermore, it allows these groups to leverage real-time data to power strategic business decisions.|
CRI Can Help You Use Accounting Technology to Transform Your Operations
Making definite predictions in regards to technological advancements is difficult. Who knows what tomorrow will bring for transportation or for small business accounting? A.I. and machine learning are concepts that may have sounded like science fiction just a couple of years ago. However, they are now among the small business tech trends to watch in 2017.
Regardless of what developments arise in the future, one thing’s for sure: Change is inevitable and happening faster than we think. This idea is true for the automotive industry, the accounting profession, and your organization. Your business will grow and require evolving operational processes to remain profitable. When it comes to managing these changes, your choice is to either be ahead or behind. CRI’s client accounting services team can help you keep up with change as your business spreads its wings and adapts to the world around it. We’ve embraced a technological core platform that will help you prepare for tomorrow’s business world. Learn more about our technology and contact us with any questions!