Augmented reality (AR) solutions are well-suited to the needs of accounting firms, though applying the technology in this sector is still not a common practice. Having said this, the fact that the use of AR is not widespread in accounting is exactly why using it in your customer-facing communication, internal collaboration or as a value-add in other ways, can deliver a real competitive advantage for your firm.
AR today is most commonly used for the “virtual, transparent visualization of information superimposed on the real world”. This is true in the world of financial services, accounting and audit as well. Researchers have found that they were able to identify a number of risks using complex AR and VR models that slip by during document-based assessment.
Here are 3 ways in which you should consider applying AR at your accounting firm.
1. Data visualization
Do all your customers understand all the spreadsheets, balance sheets and statements that you share with them? Clients without financial expertise – entrepreneurs from a technical background, for example – don’t always know how to read them. As a result you, as their financial advisor, have to spend time explaining the details and their implications. By using AR for data visualization, you can improve data readability and ease of comprehension by laypeople.
Some best practices:
- Allow clients to interact with the data through a mobile app or site
- Present raw data/numbers in 2D and 3D models
- Highlight the headline figures
- Identify Q-o-Q or Y-o-Y trends
- Create a dashboard with a number of options through which the client can view graphical presentations of the statistics he/she requires
- For instance, EBITDA for the last three years; Revenue and profit by vertical; Profit- and loss-making divisions; etc
2. Statement preparation
The sheer quantity and complexity of the data to be scrutinized, analyzed and entered in financial statements can cause discrepancies and errors. This can be corrected through clear and easy data visualization. Rather than depend on small screens and number-dense documents, you can project data and visualize it much more easily using augmented reality.
Some best practices:
- Project spreadsheets with numerous columns on large projector screens or the wall for better readability
- Use hand gestures or voice commands to retrieve data from the various folders you are handling
- Visualize data in 3D and 2D models to compare against expected trends
3. Client decision-making
You can support your clients through easy-to-share AR models. Multiple client team members can independently access and study the financial models presented, making annotations and projections. Solomon Anastacio, the speaker at the AGIA Annual National Convention 2019 on the topic: “Use of Virtual Reality in Auditing”, also suggests that each member can perform real-time financial simulations, visualizing how the change of one variable could affect revenue and growth forecasts. By allowing clients to work together remotely on a single set of models, teamwork and decision-making become easier.
Our AR experts at Hornbill FX would love to work with you to create a tool that converts vast quantities of data into easy-to-visualize data, 3D infographics, and financial simulations. Let’s work together to generate real value for your clients.