No industry can avoid rapid change in today’s modern marketplace, and that includes accounting and bookkeeping. The future of the accounting industry will belong to those who best adapt and capitalize on the dominant new industry trends.
The Supremacy of Cloud-Based Storage
Cloud-based accounting went from being a novel concept just a few years ago to potentially hegemonic in the near future. There is no question that technology is at the forefront of most monumental changes in the accounting industry, and the cloud is the hottest tech going. Internet-stored systems offer serious intelligence tools on the go; the dashboard replaces a lot of traditional back-office accountant tasks.
Change is most drastic among small business owners and associated accounting professionals. While major accounting firms have been using feeds from banks or other suppliers for many years to automate tasks and produce financial statements, clients and small accounting operations can significantly improve real-time data collection through the cloud.
Growth in Data Analytics
By now, “big data” is a bit of a tired moniker. Many of the early prognostications about the revolutionary impact of data collection proved to be overstated. Nevertheless, accountants and bookkeepers whether in person or through operating software continue to deliver important value to their clients when they can reveal actionable insights through data analytics and probabilistic statistics.
Redundancy of Common Tasks
Sometimes, disruption in an industry can overturn the apple cart and leave some professionals on the outside looking in. To see how significant the threat of disruption is, consider the following statistic from the 2015 International Business Council Future of Jobs Executive Summary: Forty-seven percent of all existing occupations are at risk of becoming redundant.
The rise in automated, tech-heavy accounting is a thinly veiled challenge to many existing accounting operations, especially rigid and predictable operations such as reconciliation or compliance work. Modern accounting solutions probably need to emphasize non-repetitive value creation and more efficient tech products.
Ever-Changing Rules and Best Practices
Canadian accounting standards are non-static. International accounting standards in the United States, Europe and Asia also change constantly. The regulatory fallout from the 2008-2009 global financial crisis continues to be felt, and concerns about ethical business practices may be at an all-time high.
As such, no single accountant or accounting software solution can afford to take a static approach to compliance or reporting. The real challenge will be finding ways to deliver timely value to clients without materially cutting into margins on either side of the transaction.
Optical Character Recognition
Optical character recognition is an underrated trend emerging in today’s business software. OCR can transform printed material into real accounting data, saving a lot of time and risk of data loss along the way.
For accountants, or for small business owners using automated accounting systems, this means a lot less frustration. Someday soon, the days of correcting entry errors or desperately trying to interpret bad handwriting will be over.