Traditional vs online accountants? Which one’s better for you?

Jul 2, 2024 | Digital accounting

As the business landscape continues to evolve and digital solutions become increasingly prevalent, choosing between traditional and online accountants has become an important decision. Let’s take a look at both kinds of accountancy so you can make informed choices to suit you.

Understanding traditional and online accounting

Before we look at the advantages and disadvantages of hiring each type of accountant, let’s first have a look at how each type works.

Traditional accountants typically prefer to work from a physical office and, more importantly, provide face-to-face services. They also tend to favour manual paper-based systems and are more likely to work to set office hours.

Online accountants, on the other hand, use digital platforms and cloud accounting technology to provide remote services. As we’ll see, working like this gives businesses something traditional accountants can’t: constant access to their accounting and financial information.

Work and established practice

Traditional accountants
Traditional accountants typically use manual processes in their services, preferring to work with paper-based methods or offline software like Excel to keep track of your finances.

This may provide a sense of familiarity, but lacks the efficient and real-time capabilities of cloud-based systems (we’ll get onto that in a moment). It also increases the chance of human error and can increase the time taken for certain tasks to be completed, although traditional accountants are experts in their field so there shouldn’t be too much trouble here.

Online accountants
Online accountants use cloud accounting software to manage their clients’ finances. This type of software is similar to traditional accounting programs, only it holds all your information in the cloud (in other words, the internet).

That completely changes how an online accountant works. Cloud technology lets accountants automate routine tasks, from bookkeeping (bank reconciliation, invoice generation, expense tracking, etc) to report generation.

This automation minimises the potential for errors and enhances efficiency, freeing up your accountant and giving them more time to meet and work with you. In other words, by using digital tools, an online accountant will automate routine tasks so they have more time for you.

Accessibility and convenience

Traditional accountants
Traditional accountants prefer face-to-face meetings, usually in their own office building. As such, you’ll need to travel to them, which can be inconvenient especially if your accountant is in the next town or even further away. However, face-to-face meetings are great for building rapport and discussing complex topics.

Online accountants
Remember how we said that, if you use cloud accounting software, your information is held on the internet? Well, by working with the cloud accounting software your accountant uses, you can see your inputted financial information in real time, letting you manage your accounts on the go. That’s a huge departure from traditional accountants, who can almost never give you your precise details as they stand now.

Furthermore, you can give key employees limited access to your account so they can see your financial information, enhancing teamwork and collaboration within your business.

Lastly, digital accountants primarily (but not exclusively) communicate through email, chat or video calls, which can save time and provide flexibility for busy entrepreneurs who cannot afford to schedule and attend in-person meetings. It also lets you work with an accountant based far away from you, which is especially helpful if you want to work with a specialist in a niche field, for example.


Traditional accountants
Traditional accountants have the disadvantage of only having the manpower that they have in the office. That shouldn’t concern smaller businesses, but if you’re looking to grow, bear in mind that your traditional accountant may not have the time or skills to accommodate you in the future, and you may have to look for someone else to help you.

Online accountants
Online accounting services can more easily scale with your business as it grows, because while an increase in workload for a traditional accountant results in a longer turnaround time, automation tools are so advanced that they can get the job done in virtually the same time.

An overview

Online accountants harness the power of cloud technology to deliver flexible, efficient and scalable financial services tailored to modern business demands. Whether you prioritise real-time data access, cost efficiency or scalability, our online accounting services are equipped to meet your needs.

Talk to us today and discover how we can help streamline your financial management processes and drive business success.

Ready to go? We’re excited to hear from you.

Let’s get started, as soon as you’re ready. We’re always up for a chat about how we can support you and your business.

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