Not too long ago, it was something out of a Get Smart episode. But wearable technology has come a long way since Maxwell Smart’s famous shoe phone made its debut in the 1960s.
Today, wearable technology can mean anything from the computerised eyewear device launched onto the market in 2012 by Google, to fitness trackers worn on wrists that measure exercise levels, heart rates and energy burned. There is also a growing wardrobe of wearable fashion technology, including ‘smart’ garments.
With the launch of the Apple Watch, accountants and bookkeepers are being introduced to a new range of wearable applications that will enable them to view real-time workflow data on their wrists.
In April, US-based software developer Receipt Bank launched what it called the world’s first wearable bookkeeping dashboard – an app that gives senior managers in accounting and bookkeeping firms access to key metrics on the go. The dashboard reports on a number of KPIs that enable practice owners to increase efficiency, including quantifying their practice’s outstanding workload and prioritising tasks.
“Technology is constantly shaping how we do business, and accounting is no exception,” says Receipt Bank’s co-founder and head of partnerships, Michael Wood. “Wearable tech adds a new dimension – literally giving hands-on access to the key metrics of running a bookkeeping or accountancy practice.”
Australia’s market for wearable technology is considered to be in its inception stage, but research released in May 2015 by global management consulting group Frost & Sullivan has forecast a compound annual growth rate of approximately 78 per cent for the period to 2018, with revenues expected to reach $1 billion in the next three years.
So far, however, there has been minimal use of wearable technology for business applications. “In the enterprise [business] segment, most wearable technologies are currently at the prototype stage,” says Audrey William, head of ICT research for Frost & Sullivan Australia and New Zealand.
William expects significant enterprise adoption of wearable technology from around 2017, especially in the mining and oil and gas industries, with several companies already looking to trial wearable products. Ultimately, she believes, wearable technologies have the potential to impact every industry in Australia.
Wonjae Shim, a research analyst at Frost & Sullivan, adds that big data will play a key role, as these wearable technology devices collect large amounts of data. “Subsequently,” explains Shim, “service providers and data analytics companies can derive detailed analysis, providing trends and insights to service providers and businesses to make informed decisions to improve business processes and sales, reduce costs and enhance R&D capabilities.” It seems, yet again, science fiction is set to become fiscal reality.
Publication date: 18 Aug 15
Source: Institute of Public Accountants