Predictions for 2018
What does the new year have in store for the accounting profession? Here we present our top predictions for 2018.
Firms will continue to add advisory and consulting services
Rob Nixon, business coach and CEO of PANALITIX. has a good track record when it comes to foretelling the future of the accounting industry. His most recent prediction?
Business advisory services will account for more than 80% of revenue.
From what we’re hearing from our CPA partners, this statement is spot on. To remain competitive, more and more firms are seeking to round out their offerings. By adding advisory services or growing the ones they already offer, firms are able to boost revenue and bring more value to their clients.
More than a trend, this practice is becoming a necessity. According to Jim Lawrence, partner at the Traphagen Financial Group in Bergen County, NJ and a member of the Balance Point CPA Advisory Board, “Traditional firms, especially firms that are tax heavy are going to find it hard to maintain their current base.” He knows first-hand the benefits of working at an integrated firm and advises “be in front of your clients for everything – tax, college planning, investment, life insurance, financial planning, estate planning, etc. Clients want a firm that can provide all and any services.”
Security concerns will intensify
Data breaches dominated the news in 2017. When you reflect on the year’s headlines, Uber and Equifax likely come to mind. But there were many more that managed to escape the media’s attention. According to an Identity Theft Resource Organization report from October, there have been a total of 1,120 breaches in 2017 with more than 171 million records exposed.
The future doesn’t look promising. These numbers are a significant increase from 2016, not in the total number of breaches, but in the number of records exposed—a 462% increase in fact.
In a recent CPA Practice Advisor article, Christopher Skinner, CEO of technology security firm SpiderOak, warns “Attack surfaces are exploding – the nearly four billion different people online worldwide means four billion different entry points for criminals. We trust our devices and systems to drive our cars, deliver vital medical treatments, and protect our homes and supply chains, but these have never been more insecure.”
In the article, Skinner goes on to share where the greatest risk exists for 2018: software updates, vulnerability with smartphones and passwords, and failure to control the access people have to secure data. He also predicts that we will see more fraudulent returns in the 2018 tax season than ever before as a result of the high volume of social security numbers that were exposed due to the Equifax breach.
Generation Z entering the workforce will be a refreshing change
The title of this section is not meant to insult the millennial generation. They’ve heard enough of that. Article after article would lead you to believe that all are entitled, narcissistic, slackers who jump from job to job. While there may be some validity to this notion, there is no denying the positive impact they have had in the workforce. As the first true digital natives, they have challenged the way their predecessors view technology and influenced advancements for the better. And they have paved the way for the next group to enter the workforce – Generation Z.
Born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s, Generation Z will soon dominate the workforce. Growing up among social clutter, the war on terror, and economic turmoil has caused them to adopt a more pragmatic outlook on life. As a result they are experts at multitasking, entrepreneurial-minded, and more sensible. The most promising attribute? Research suggests they value benefits and job security over millennial-preferred perks, making them more likely to settle in at your firm for the long haul.
Our final prediction:
Balance Point will continue to explore ways to support the CPA community
That is a prediction you can bank on. Best wishes for a prosperous 2018!