What Is Mobile Accounting?

Today’s accountants aren’t confined to a desk and dependent on a traditional desktop computer at all times. Technological developments like evolving software applications have made it easier for accountants to access the information they need remotely, even from devices like tablets and smartphones. The results? Accountants now have more flexibility, leading to the rise of what’s called “mobile accounting.”

Defining Mobile Accounting

Mobile accounting is the use of mobile technology – smartphones and tablets – to accomplish business goals in the field of accounting. However, a general definition like this doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, accounting firms are still trying to figure out exactly what the mobile accounting story is.

Developing an individual definition of mobile accounting – including the goals, functionality and user identity – is the first step accountants need to take, Accounting Today reported. Until they make conscious decisions about these and other important aspects of mobile accounting, their attempt at integrating mobile technology will lack strategy – and they may not prepare accountants for success.

Examples of Mobile Accounting Functions

Though the field of accounting is increasingly going mobile, a consistent definition might be difficult to establish, even for individual accountants or firms. However, listing the objectives and tasks involved in mobile accounting processes may be easier. Some examples of mobile accounting practices include processing payroll, checking invoices and reviewing real-time sales transactions, Silicon Angle reported. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and exactly which functions fit into an organization’s vision of mobile accounting can vary from one firm to the next.

The Tricky Process of Embracing Mobile Accounting Technology

Despite the newfound freedom these technological advances have given accountants, incorporating mobile accounting into your practice isn’t exactly a simple process. To effectively embrace mobile business technology, it’s important for accounting firms and professionals to stop to consider the issues involved and the decisions they need to make, according to Accounting Today.

For example, integrating mobile accounting requires firms to make technical decisions, like whether to invest in a software application (app) or simply a mobile-friendly website. It’s important to take into account how the different functions will work on various devices and to plan and implement regular software updates.

Accounting firms must also make strategic business decisions about mobile accounting. They must identify which personnel have a need for the technology and disburse mobile accounting privileges appropriately, Accounting Today reported. They also need to keep on top of security concerns and compliance with all relevant laws, regulations and company policies.

Mobile devices and the corresponding technological evolutions have drastically altered how our society uses technology both personally and professionally. While this technology is sure to keep changing, it’s unlikely to fall out of fashion anytime soon. Today’s accounting students should expect mobile technology to be an important – and perhaps, permanent – part of their future careers. They will need to be familiar with the use of mobile devices and understand the strategy behind how accounting firms – like their future employers – use the technology.