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accountants and bookkeepers

The Future of Accounting

Every industry changes with time, and accounting is no different. With the rise of technology, there are growing concerns that accounting could become redundant, but this is a highly unlikely scenario.

Accounting is a valuable profession, and it’s more likely to move with the times. That said, new technologies are bound to shape the future of accounting, with most future trends reliant on technological shifts.

Here are 4 trends to keep an eye out for in the future of accounting and bookkeeping.

Make sure to register for our upcoming Pro Power Hour webinar too, where Dr Ben Hamer, accredited futurist, and recently-awarded number one thought leader for the Future of Work in the Asia-Pacific, will look at the key trends shaping the Future of Work and what it means for your firm and your clients. Register here for free.

1. Technology will help rather than replace accountants

Alarmists have been warning about the loss of jobs to technology in numerous sectors for many years. Accounting is just one industry said to be negatively affected by technology, with the potential for automation to remove the need for accountants altogether.

However, the future of tax accounting is likely to grow with technology. Accountants need to embrace technological advancements that can make their jobs easier, such as software that keeps all their tools in one place.

Accounting software can streamline a wealth of tasks, including reporting, invoicing and managing expenses. These technologies are no threat to accountants, but instead lend a big helping hand.

The recent pandemic has also shown that accountants need to embrace technology trends that weave through all forms of work. For example, software that allows for flexible remote working.

2. New ways to manage data

Data management and protection are hot topics in the technology sector. Accountants handle sensitive financial information, which makes accounting firms a significant target for hackers and data breaches.

Cloud Accounting Software

Many more firms are switching to a cloud or hybrid cloud approach when it comes to data storage, but these systems pose their own risks. It’s therefore necessary for financial firms to invest in solid data security measures that help keep their clients’ data safe. 

Furthermore, their data management systems could make it easier to process and manage data. Automation can reduce the costs of manual labour and allow human employees to focus their efforts on tasks that require creativity and collaboration, boosting overall efficiency. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI and the future of accounting are likely to go hand in hand. While AI can render raw data, analyse it, and make it acceptable, it cannot replace many of the other tasks performed by accountants. By investing in smart AI, accounting firms can create a symbiotic relationship with technology so that AI and accountants support each other for the most efficient process possible.

Blockchain Technology

Blockchain is a trend that is growing and one that accountants should be aware of. It has powerful accounting potential and is already being used in supply chain optimisation. It’s likely that accountants who are knowledgeable about blockchain will be in high demand soon.

3. Less outsourcing

As the gap closes between developed and developing nations, it’s likely that fewer firms will outsource their work overseas. It is no longer much cheaper to do so, and the gap continues to narrow.

The future of accounting in Australia is therefore looking up, as many more businesses are leaning on local firms or multinationals with a local presence.

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4. More focus on employees

A broader general trend is that firms are looking to improve employee satisfaction. One product of the pandemic was a restlessness among employees, who re-evaluated their priorities and chose to change careers into something that made them happier.

A huge deciding factor for job seekers is employee satisfaction. Right now, Australians are expecting their employers to provide better pay and better job satisfaction, 53.2% of those surveyed saw work-life balance as a major factor attracting them to new roles.

Remote work could also be a factor, with many employees now seeking the possibility of flexible work arrangements. In a survey conducted in Australia in June 2022, over 50% of respondents said they would consider working remotely permanently.

So, if accounting firms want to attract new employees and retain experienced ones, they will have to adapt to the new style of working. Prioritising employee health and well-being is essential to the future of accounting. To help with this we have written a blog article with a few tips to to help with mental health

Why do accountants need to stay ahead of trends?

The accounting industry will always be subject to change, as will every other sector. Accountants and bookkeeping firms should try to stay ahead of the curve if they want to succeed. The best firms are on top of current and future trends, and that’s why they attract the best clients.

Profitable accounting clients will take their business to firms with the latest technology and businesses that care for the wellbeing of society. You will often find that accounting clients like to work with firms that share the same values.

Adapting and being agile is also necessary if you want to attract top talent. Millennials and fgeneration Z entering the workforce, have certain expectations from their employers. Firms that stay behind the times will find it increasingly difficult to attract the best talent. 

Attending webinars and conferences is a great way to stay on top of the latest trends. The program for our Get Connected event in Sydney in November 2023 has been designed to help advisors harness the collective knowledge of industry leaders and innovators. It’s a great way to learn from shared insights and strategies to help your practice thrive.

The best thing accountants can do right now is to embrace new technology, rather than fear it. Firms that don’t adapt to the new climate will find themselves struggling. On the other hand, those that are poised to take on new challenges will thrive in this highly competitive industry.


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