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Trends in Accounting

Rahul Maingi

By admin, March 9, 2016

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Trends in accounting: what will the future be like?

What will accounting look like in the future? There will be disruptions and breakthroughs that few can predict but there are some trends that may help you to prepare. Let’s discuss just a few.

Accountants that focus on clients and add more value

Accountants are increasingly becoming advisors rather than providers of financial reports. Along the spectrum of accounting careers, from CFOs to analysts, accountants are being asked to do more than present numbers or ensure the books balance. Increasingly executives and managers are requiring strategic and operational advice and accountants have to answer the “so what?” behind the numbers.

As a result of this trend, there will be fewer opportunities for data entry, basic bookkeeping and routine accounting work which will reduce these jobs. As the technology improves, these functions will often be automated or exported through business process outsourcing (BPO) to areas where wages are lower such as India. The automation and use of BPO for transactional accounting functions will benefit accountants by providing more opportunities for high-value advisory services. Trends towards more entrepreneurship and consulting employment will also provide more opportunities to offer these services to early stage companies which are another opportunity for accountants.

Transitions from accountants to consultants

Globalization and automation have resulted in more work being done by computers or offshored to use less expensive labour. Although manufacturing has been hit most rapidly, many desk jobs are heading the same direction. This trend will force entrepreneurial accountants and bookkeepers to increase consultancies or offer niche services over transaction processing.

The future is likely to continue to have a small number of very large firms that handle industrial workloads but I think room for consultants will grow in two ways.

More cloud-based accounting information and automation

The mega-trend in accounting is technology and software resulting in automation and more virtual accounting functions. Already numerous cloud-based accounting packages are replacing desktop or enterprise packages that have existed for decades. Canadian-based Wave Accounting and Freshbooks are two examples of popular packages that have recently expanded the cloud-based accounting software space with Intuit Quickbooks Online also taking a commanding presence. Not only has the actual accounting software gone online but numerous software has automated previously manual functions. Online cloud-based software such as Expensify and Receipt Bank have made expense claims and filing simpler and quicker by using optical character recognition (OCR) technology to read and file receipts for you, removing a previously manual and error-prone process. These new software now even integrate with online accounting packages to make the process as seamless as scanning and importing a receipt and having it filed and entered in your accounting software automatically, resulting in almost instantly accurate financial reports.

As the technology improves, you can expect that these trends will continue to have real implications on accounting and bookkeeping practices. Bookkeepers and accountants will move away from data entry to providing complete solutions for accounting needs catered to the unique organization or business. Accountants will instead focus on adding value through strategic and operational advice rather than transaction entry by utilizing automation and BPO for the transactional aspects of their work.

How you can take advantage

Accounting and bookkeeping service providers can take advantage in the coming years by moving towards offering advisory and consulting services. To do this, accounting and bookkeeping service providers need to start looking at their own transactional processes and automating and exporting the transactional items at every opportunity. By focusing on the end-user experience in the transactional areas, accountants and bookkeepers have a real opportunity to grow their reputation and reduce costs while adding more advisory value. Creating a simple, user friendly process, that small and medium size organizations can follow and managing this process by using a combination of automation and BPO will allow you to focus your efforts on the highest value activities which are helping the business or organization to succeed.

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