From XU Magazine, 
Issue 33

There’s no more hiding from Digital Commerce

For accounting and bookkeeping firms that have yet to embrace digital commerce practices, the good news is that it isn’t too late.

This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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Purchasing behaviour has changed beyond all recognition in recent years. Whilst retailers have driven this change as a way to reduce their footprints, organisations of all shapes and sizes - across all sectors - have had to adapt to facilitate automated digital transactions, whether online or in-store. So accounting firms have had to adapt too. 

Our traditional processes and systems no longer cut it, and our clients are demanding a different type of service too. They need us to provide real-time insights into their finances, to help them develop business agility.

Understanding your clients’ business model, current and future, is key to establishing how best to add strategic value and build agility into their business finances so that they can adapt to digital commerce trends.

5 Digital Commerce Trends Impacting Accountants

1. B2B and B2C Commerce

The pandemic brought about a shift in business-to-business buying behaviour, making fully self-serve online procurement commonplace. In an increasing number of scenarios, companies are now running, B2B, B2C and D2C models - or indeed a more intricate combination. Whilst this might not directly impact accounting practices, knowing the space in which clients operate will help determine the type of financial insight needed to accelerate growth. For example, returns and exchanges in the B2C environment are commonplace, so giving them good visibility of these processes and metrics will be critical. Especially as this aspect of online purchase can make or break their customers’ experience.

2. Omni-channel sales and multiple payment options

Cash on delivery, credit cards, debit cards, mobile wallets, cryptocurrencies - the payment options businesses need to support today to enable customer choice are diverse, plentiful and growing year on year. As are the number of sales channels beyond face-to-face, phone and website; all of which need to be unified in a seamless experience, both front and back-end.

Clients’ sales channels may include:

  • Mobile (mCommerce) - including peer-to-peer (P2P) payment platforms 
  • Social selling directly through social media platforms
  • Gaming - including VR commerce where brands launch virtual lines 
  • Live streaming - i.e. placing an order via a virtual event

3. Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)

The BNPL trend - payments in instalments, over a long period of time, typically interest-free - is an incredibly attractive one to shoppers and merchants alike. It speeds up the checkout process, increases order value size and reduces cart abandonment rate like no other model. So it’s easy to see why the growth trajectory for BNPL transactions over the next five years is so steep. For the same reason, there are also plenty of BNPL platforms and plug-ins to choose from, some of which might form part of your clients’ tech stack.

4. Loyalty Programs

Again, Loyalty Programs work for both shoppers and merchants, and when executed well, offer hyper-personalisation that improves customer lifetime value, increases brand advocacy and results in a wealth of valuable consumer data and insights. Often Loyalty Programs sales require the ability to track cash inflow as unearned revenue, and clients will benefit from any insight that accountants can provide to support such initiatives.

5. Commerce Intelligence

Getting digital commerce right is often make or break. It’s why more and more companies are now investing in analytics platforms to unify their data to provide a complete overview of performance, with the goal of fine-tuning their marketing strategy. As the old adage goes, ‘junk in, junk out’, so ensuring clients get return on their investments in commerce intelligence platforms requires a robust approach to data accuracy and a deep dive understanding of their financial health.

Why Modern Firms Must Leverage Commerce for Profitability

For accounting and bookkeeping firms that have yet to embrace digital commerce practices, the good news is that it isn’t too late.

For that, automating digital commerce accounting practices is essential. Virtually every business now transacts digitally, and accounting firms that embrace tech that simplifies digital commerce are in the right position to service their clients. By offering clients a smart, digital sales accounting solution as part of your service, you can:

  • Relieve the collective team from ‘busywork’.
  • Help scale processes effectively.
  • Facilitate an accurate and real-time view of clients’ assets, liabilities and equity.
  • Support proactive decision-making that could future-proof client businesses.

Agile cash flow management is ultimately key to client success. So accounting firms could, for example - with the time saved from automating commerce data processing - help clients consider their sales trends to identify which platforms are costing them the most. Or help them explore ways to stand out from the crowd by investing in top digital commerce initiatives such as the new sales channels, VR/AR, hyper-personalisation, retention schemes, or fulfilment flexibility capabilities.

Without automation of commerce data processing and management, carving out the time to clients and providing the insights they need to accelerate their growth comes at a very high cost. This typically limits the firm’s worth to ‘number crunching’ and reduces the opportunity to remain profitable.

Whereas leveraging technology like Dext Commerce, firms can make their clients’ pain points disappear and tap into their hopes and dreams for their business. It’s not only a great way to cement existing client relationships, but will also allow the firm to demonstrate accounting specialism in a rapid-growth market. This could be the game-changer you need for your firm’s growth.

Digital commerce isn’t going anywhere. It’s crucial that accountants and bookkeepers invest in the best solution for such clients to take on this opportunity to expand and future-proof their practices.

Why leave it there?

To grow your practice with digital commerce

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