The digital world we live in means the accounting profession is changing rapidly and the swiftness with which these changes are adopted defines the success of a company. To stay ahead of the game, accountants need to identify these changes and reform their business.
Ultimately, the profession needs to leverage technology to have greater control of their time and make their job a little easier. Accounting is no longer a millennia-old occupation and with quantum change already taking place, industry leaders have forecast the following trends that will impact upon the accounting industry in the near future:
Technology integration – Accounting is no longer about using calculators for information accuracy; the profession has taken on a whole new look with technology changing the industry completely and the best cost effective choice is to move to cloud-based technology. Moving to cloud accounting is an opportunity as it enhances the productivity of compliance functions and frees up accountants to move from being a straight accountant to develop their business advisory arm of their firm. Cloud accounting has become a revolution of sorts as it has the potential to transform the accountancy industry like never before.
Increased focus on client relationships – While adjusting to new technology is important; it is customer service that has become more important than ever. With the advent of technology, accounting business models have changed and customers are asking for more than “doing the books” and “tax returns” from their accountants. Moreover, with technology commoditizing compliance jobs, accountants can do their work in less time and this will help them spend more time with their clients.
Value based pricing – The mundane tasks of accounting and bookkeeping services will be outsourced or done by automatic software with no human intervention and increased efficiency. Charging by the hour helped when staff had to put in long hours doing data entry which is not the case anymore. Focusing on maintaining customer service is become the key revenue generator and this will directly affect the way accountants’ bill their clients in future as the pricing will be based more on value basis rather than hourly.
Succession planning – Accounting firms that have succeeded through the consolidation of aging practices will start to deal with intensified succession issues. Succession planning has multiple options ranging from mergers, acquisitions to partnerships and more. Many small and medium sized practices do not have any type of succession plan in place and with baby boomers starting to reach retirement age there will be a huge talent void in the industry. Managing the retirement of seniors will see more mergers of firms in the coming years.
Accounting firms are going to need to make important strategic choices and implement them effectively to succeed in a more competitive environment. These are just a few changes, but they are ground-breaking.