The field of accounting is constantly changing. The software and other technology accountants use on a regular basis evolves all the time. Even the understanding of what accounting is and what role accountants play in clients’ business decisions has changed drastically over time. Instead of focusing solely on numbers, accountants often consider clients’ big-picture goals and work to help them reach those objectives. As the accounting industry continues to grow and change, company Wolters Kluwer CCH surveyed 500 accounting professionals to learn which trends have the biggest impact on accountants, Accounting Today reported. The answers ranged from various ways of integrating and using new technology to more traditional issues like client service and employee recruiting.
Trends in Addressing Traditional Problems
In accounting – and for that matter, in nearly every professional services provider – certain concerns like client relationships and talent management are always relevant. However, even these traditional issues develop and change. For example, accounting firms are under increasing pressure to make client relationships a round-the-clock priority. In the age of smartphones and similar technological advances, normal business hours no longer cut it for many clients – and, in turn, for their accounting firms. Hiring and retaining talent, too, has become a top priority for many firms. Several thriving accounting firms have existed for decades, which means that many founders and early employees of these firms will soon be nearing retirement age. To keep these firms running, their founders must focus on succession planning and specifically on attracting and keeping the best employees to handle the responsibilities of running the business in the future.
Technology Trends in Accounting
It’s telling that three of the top five trends facing the accounting industry involve technology. Today’s accounting firms face the challenge of integrating new technology to improve efficiency and client service. Many accounting firms are investing in technology like secure cloud data storage solutions and online client portals that can answer clients’ need for immediate information outside of regular business hours.
Another technology trend in accounting right now is incorporating digital mobility opportunities, or the use of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Accounting firms are focusing on digital mobility now both to please clients who want to access their information on these devices and to help employees be more productive.
Social media is no longer just for fun. Accounting firms are seeking ways to put social media to work drawing in new employees and clients. They also hope to increase current clients’ satisfaction by connecting with them through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The technical work of accounting may revolve around financial statements and reports, but the accounting industry as a whole is far more complex. Like every industry, accounting continually faces new challenges and must adapt and evolve to meet those challenges. Trends in how accounting firms integrate new technology into their business and how they use evolving technology to address longstanding concerns illustrate how leaders in the field are meeting these challenges.