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Seven trends that will change the shape of accounting

Business

Factors beyond the control of the tax profession will soon make it look very different.

By Sonia Gibson 10 minute read

Accounting, like all professions, is constantly evolving, and it’s not just about keeping up with legislative and financial changes. These innovative trends change how business does accounting. 

Remote working has come to stay

The pandemic made remote working the future of work, whether bosses like it or not. With nearly all major corporations making concessions for hybrid and remote working, the deal is done. 

And that means accounting now has to master the art of working in distributed teams. The big benefit, of course, is the ability to pull in expertise from across the globe as needed. Remote work adds to the bottom line, rather than subtracts from it. 

Data security is mandatory

Data security was something for the nerdy IT guys to worry about, but now it’s become an integral part of working with online systems. Accountants need to be as concerned with the security of information as the quality of the information they provide.

Automation has arrived

This is an accountant’s dream that has become reality. The ability to take repetitive tasks and hand them over to a computer or robot instead of paying somebody to endure them (because nobody enjoys them). 

Automation has come on by leaps and bounds. Only a few years ago, it was the sole province of major multinational corporations. Now every business, including your accountancy firm, can benefit from the technology. 

AI will (eventually) have your back

You may have seen the incredible works of art developed by artificial intelligence. Well, it’s not just art that’s being transformed by AI, it’s also accounting. 

AI will soon provide checks and balances for human analysis, and will be invaluable in carrying out and predicting some of the more complex mathematics needed to deal with the increasing complexity of the financial environment. 

The way you charge is changing

As a service industry, accounting will be transformed by many of the things we’ve already touched on and that means it’s prime for moving from hourly rates to value-based pricing, if you haven’t already.

That is, working on fixed or project-based fees that prevent a client from being stung with a large bill at the end of the project. This is good for accountants, because it forces them to focus on their own personal efficiency, and as they do so, it will boost their profitability. 

Blockchain will keep track

We don’t know where the future of crypto currencies is going, but we know that the blockchain isn’t going anywhere. 

Accounting using blockchain will provide a permanent, auditable, open record of what’s been done both by the accountant and by the client. This provides much greater financial certainty for potential suppliers, creditors and customers.

It will also reduce the role of third-party intermediaries in accounting. 

Big data has its day

All the best accounting firms will be looking to bring on people who are skilled at analysing huge pools of data. The more data you have, the better you can analyse, the better you can attain a competitive advantage. Combine this facility with AI and you may have the ultimate force for business success. 

The evolution of accounting in business is positive. It provides interesting challenges for accountants and promises more efficient, better value accounting services to the clients that pay for them. 

The big changes are reflected in our list above, but there are always other things coming over the mountain to keep accounting interesting for everyone.

Sonia Gibson is founder of Accounting Heart.

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