Change is the new constant. Looking back, there is no question that 2021 was full of significant changes. The ongoing pandemic, hybrid and remote working, supply chain issues, staffing concerns, leadership changes and more, are some of the challenges businesses faced. What can we expect in the future? How is the accounting industry changing and what should we expect?
Using software is nothing new for accountants. Long gone are the days of relying solely on ledger sheets, Excel spreadsheets and simple software programs. Using cloud-based software and resources allows companies to eliminate redundancies, assign multiple users and enjoy confidence that data is securely integrating correctly for all users. Many companies are turning toward cloud-based ERPs that allow embedded apps, to enable powerful features that go beyond the capabilities built into the original software. Open markets for app builders allow innovative ideas to be quickly implemented into existing systems. Globally, as accountants re-evaluate software, 85% state that the profession in their country needs to pick up the pace of technology adoption to remain competitive internationally
Evolving accounting roles
As firms rely on accounting automation through software, the day-to-day manual operations will decrease. This shift will allow for more specialized services for their clients. Data analysis and interpretation customized to unique sectors will increase the firm's diversity. The soft skills of leadership and training paired with technological experience will be more valuable. At PwC, accountants and auditors are participating in an advanced technology program to digitally upskill all employees. Staying abreast of the latest trends and advancements enables any firm to be competitive in the marketplace and attract new clients.
We learned from COVID-19 that working from home is do-able for many industries. Accounting has also adapted to that model. Even as employees are returning to offices in some areas of the world, others prefer to maintain their work-at-home environments. Using cloud-based software and secure logins means that accountants do not need to be in the same building to complete their tasks. Zoom and other video networking tools allow for collaboration and easy communication. This trend seems likely to continue and firms may have the need for less office space and potentially decreased overhead costs. Also, many firms are looking into new time management strategies that allow them to become nimbler and adapt to potential changes while still having accountability with remote and in-office workers.
In this increased push towards digital technology and with significant amounts of data being transmitted electronically, clients and firms are more likely to be vulnerable to data breaches and hackers. Security has and always will be an important priority, and evaluating existing systems provides an opportunity for upgrades and better protocols. If a major business can have a data breach, then surely a CPA firm is at risk, as well. Phishing emails, un-secure client portals, and lack of authentication measures provide an easier opportunity for data breaches. With the rise of cybercrimes, more companies are looking towards increased security standards and will continue to do so.
Regulations, policies, standards and more
Tax laws have changed. Lease accounting standards have changed. Increasingly, accounting firms must be prepared for all these regulatory changes. Plans to adapt to how the changes are implemented with accounting and auditing must be taken into consideration. How will these changes increase time spent on tasks and how will it change efficiency? Considering just lease accounting standards, government, public, and private businesses had to adapt by certain deadlines. That is just one aspect of accounting. Future changes will also take place and savvy firms will be prepared to adapt.
Netgain is ready for the future
We are excited about the promise of these trends, and we are prepared to help accountants make the most of them. Our cloud-based software is a perfect example of how we help accountants and auditors streamline their processes. Our team of accountants, many of whom have worked for the big four, and other talented staff wear many hats and balance working from home and at the office. This flexibility allows for greater productivity and future growth. Plus, our experts stay abreast of regulations, standards and policies. We look for ways to increase audit efficiency, and improve lease and lessor accounting, asset management and more. Change is inevitable and challenging but Netgain is excited for the future and for the progress we and the accounting and finance industry will make in the coming years.