What does the future hold for the accounting industry in 2020 and beyond? We present three trends on our radar to help you navigate the years ahead.
Artificial Intelligence Will Impact the Industry
The rise of artificial intelligence technology has created opportunities for advancement in many industries. Accounting is no exception. Automation is transforming the way work is done and slowly eliminating the need for manual data entry.
Many firms have already begun using AI in varying ways. In fact, the technology is already present in many software applications used today, helping accountants scale up the quantity and quality of data analysis, improve consistency, reduce errors, and clear invoices. The time saved allows financial professionals to focus on strategy, business development, and client relations so they can better position themselves as advisors.
The industry is evolving, and AI is playing an important role in the transformation. Rather than resist the change, accountants need to embrace these new technological advancements. While AI can open a world of possibilities, it cannot replace traits like creativity and empathy, the qualities that make the human accountant irreplaceable.
Flexible and Remote Work Arrangements Will Increase in Popularity
Accommodating flexible work schedules, including arrangements where employees work from home, is a trend that’s here to stay. In fact, 94% of employers provide some sort of flexible work environment and 66% of companies allow remote work.
Working from home has traditionally been viewed as a privilege. However, more and more employers are recognizing the benefits and changing their mindset. Research has shown that employees with flexible arrangements are more engaged and more productive. This has led to the adoption of “permanent flexibility,” a model where employees don’t need to ask for permission to work remotely because it’s part of the company culture.
Forward-thinking accounting firms are following suit by not only allowing seasoned employees to work from home, but also hiring employees who are already remote. According to an Accounting Today survey of 175 CPA firms, 43% now allow staff members to regularly work from home and 63% have at least one employee not tied to any particular office.
As the desire to attract young talent grows, and firms adopt technology that makes remote work more efficient, this trend will likely continue to grow.
The Role of the Accountant Will Continue to Evolve
Accountants are doing much more than their standard responsibilities. No longer just finance, accounting, and taxation experts, today’s CPAs are taking on more responsibilities and expanding into other advisory roles. This trend is reflective in education; some degree programs now cover communication and computer sciences as part of their curriculum.
70% of accountants working for small to medium enterprises see their advisory roles becoming more strategic.
As accountants continue to extend their areas of expertise, firms will continue to diversify their services, expanding into areas like retirement plan services, estate planning, business valuation, and outsourced CFO services.
An Enduring Relationship
Since opening our doors in 2003, Balance Point has been committed to being a true partner to the CPA community.
Whether it’s providing access to important client data or keeping you current on trends in human capital management, we continue to look for ways to remain relevant and accessible to you.
Read more by visiting the section of our website dedicated to the CPA partnership.