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Accounting Departments and Firms Reveal What They Look Forward to in 2020!

Last updated: 19 Nov, 2021 By | 6 Minutes Read

Every year, new innovations and technologies enter the market and refine and re-define the accounting processes. This is imperative also as with the passing of every year, the customer-demands change and increase in an uncertain way. To meet this ever-increasing demand and stay ahead of their competitors, accounting firms need to update their processes on a consistent basis through technology and innovation, along with working on marketing strategies to gain a competitive edge.

So, let’s get started and figure out what exactly are the accounting firms looking forward to in 2020!

1. Looking Forward to Crypto and Blockchain Technology

Kelly Barrett, Tax Accountant and Crypto/Blockchain Educator | Sunshawl Services Inc

What I’m looking forward to in 2020 is new Crypto and Blockchain technology designed to serve the accounting industry. I have a passion for cryptocurrency and blockchain, and I founded an online social learning website to educate everyday people about its uses and possibilities.

One use case for blockchain accounting I hope to explore in 2020 is the promise of processing payroll through a blockchain. It’s supposed to allow employees to get paid instantly, not at the end of a pay period.

2. Enhanced Efficiency of KPIs

Brandon Gray, CPA | Firm360

In 2020, I am looking forward to achieving increased efficiencies and clarity using key performance indicators that drive our firm. We measure these indicators with new technology that enables us to invoice clients based on the value of the service instead of the outdated per hour rate system. We are also able to measure and drive team member efficiencies as they relate to production! I’m ready to experience 2020 Vision!

Also Read: Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for Finance and Accounting Professionals

3. Improved System and Cyber Security

Reza Mahbod, CPA, CISA, CGFM, CICA, CGMA, CDFM, CFE | President of RMA Associates

The accounting and auditing field is constantly changing as new standards are adopted or contemplated. Furthermore, evolving internal and external risks determine risk mitigation strategies for our clients that affect us as their auditors or consultants. For example, since our client base is mostly the Federal Government, our practice has shifted to addressing cyber risk and service provider controls. The Government has shifted to using service providers to provide much of its accounting services, versus building stand-alone systems.

Therefore, we focus on addressing service provider internal controls, which include system and cybersecurity. We anticipate growth and focus in that area, as well as certain other areas impacted by the constant evolution of accounting standards.

Also Read: What Security Measures CPA Firms Should Take Against Cyber-Attacks?

4. Greater Investments in AI and Machine Learning

ChayimKessler, CPA | Miami Beach

I’m excited to look forward to how the industry will be *pouring investments in AI* this year. 2019 has been a great eye-opening year for both small and large practitioners to realize the importance of optimizing our practices with the help of advanced technology. I believe that more than automating tasks and streamlining workflows, the advent of AI is an industry-changing experience, not necessarily on replacing accountants, but more of aiding us towards more accurate and analytics-based business decisions.

So with this trend being a significant welcome to a thriving industry, I’m expecting more CPAs and finance experts to take advantage of machine learning and AI to help them work smarter instead of “harder” so their valuable time is used more efficiently.

5. Automation will be Embraced by Many

Jaime Campbell, CPA

I look forward to the continued evolution of the profession as we adopt not just electronic operations but also automation. I want to see more bookkeeping firms have the capacity to look out for their clients’ security, and both internal and external controls. I want to see more outsourced accounting departments embrace automation to have the capacity to look ahead for their clients and plan for the future, not just report on the past.

I also want to see the public accounting profession take the lead as coronavirus concerns have more organizations looking at work-from-home arrangements, something which many in public accounting, particularly smaller firms, have been doing securely, responsibly, and effectively for years.

6. Looking Forward to Outsourcing Accounting Services

Michelle Flores-Gonzales, Chief Operating Officer, VP at FLORES

We look forward to the opportunities to connect with customers. There is a growing demand for outsourced accounting, and we feel that FLORES can fulfill that need business need. With rising costs in wages, staffing shortages, and the need for accurate, reliable data on the rise, it only makes sense for businesses to look to outsource.

In the day and age where business decisions need to happen in real-time we know that our accounting team can provide this level of reporting, and we are excited to continue to develop our technology partnerships to be the leading accounting provider in the industry that our customers can depend on.

Also ReadIn house vs. Outsourced Accounting: The War Continues in 2020

7. Collaborating Technology with Customer Service is Required

Stephen, Director of Cheltenham Tax Accountants

2020 is a huge year for accountants. So much of the industry focus in recent years has been around ‘tech’. Xero, Quickbooks Online, Chaser, Futrli, Receipt Bank, and the likes have taken center stage. 2020 is the year that accountants take back the momentum and put all of their powers into building better client relationships.

It is so tempting to jump on the latest accounting trend around technology. Humans, by their very nature love the shiny new object in front of them. I have been guilty of this personally in my small accounting firm. What’s next? What new feature is Xero releasing in Q1? How can the Receipt Bank make my business better?

It is time for us to put our client relationships center stage. 2020 is about client service.

This is the year we roll back the accounting industry into the 90s. Technology is essential; however, it is purely an enabler to better client service. This can be from improved efficiency, more communication channels, or as a tool to understand your clients’ business better. The old fashion meeting has been a thing of the past in some ‘modern’ accounting practices.

They may use slack, office 365, and Xero, but they won’t meet you in person! The relationship a business owner has with his accountant is sacred. Building long-term trust has to be the key to the success of your relationship. You may need to actually act like a human being and get to know the personal and not just the client. As James Ashford at GoProposal says, ‘Person first, client second’.

Every interaction you have with your client is a chance to build up relationship goodwill in the bank. If you have not taken the time to understand your client and his business needs, you will have little goodwill deposited. Too many accountants treat their clients as customers. A customer buys products and has little or no loyalty to your business. A client buys into you on an emotional level and trusts your advice.

Out with the shiny new toy
Forget about the latest tech toy or book that promises to change the way you work. Instead, ensure that the client is first. This is the year I am going to do all of the things our clients expect of us, yet with a smile. I am going to enjoy providing a service that they appreciate.

I am going to ask them how their children are doing. Where are they going on holiday in the summer? Being able to serve your clients is a reward in itself. Accountants have an amazing opportunity to genuinely change people’s lives. How many careers provide this platform? 2020 is the year we up our game.

In the process, we will also be reducing the threat of artificial and technology in general. By focusing on what makes us human, we can provide extraordinary service to our clients.

8. Looking for the Latest IRS Updates on Repatriation

Ines Zemelman, EA., Founder & President of Taxes For Expats (TFX)

We are looking forward to additional updates from the IRS on the issue of repatriation. The legislation was intended for large firms (Cisco, Apple, Google, etc.) but has inadvertently made life very difficult for small businesses of many expats.

9. Wishing for No New Major Tax Law!

GAIL | GailRosenCPA

1. No major new tax law! Last year we had to go over the new tax law with many clients, even though we tried to give them advance warning. Many people owed money with their tax return last year due to the decreased withholding tables implemented in 2018. When people owe money with their taxes (or get less back then they expected), they are not happy; even if their overall tax bill is less.

2. We had to determine if each of our business clients were, in fact, an SSTB (specified service trade or business) and therefore, may not get the favorable 20% 199A deduction. Most of our client’s businesses were easy to determine, but a few were not. The difference of being classified as an SSTB or not could mean a lot of money to our clients, so we had to spend research time on this, which wasn’t necessarily billable. I can’t say that determining if someone’s occupation fits in a certain bucket is an easy task for us accountants, most of us are much better at analyzing numbers!

Also Read: Top 10 Tax Software with Comparisons

10. A Positive Change is Expected from Millennials

Jenn Viridis | Prax Accounting

Millennials!! We are incredibly excited at the paradigm shift we’re seeing as more millennials take over aging businesses. Millennials are more driven, more open to change, and more willing to use data (vs. their gut or opinions) in making strategic decisions for their businesses.

For an outsourced accounting firm, this provides far more opportunity to have our advice produce measurable results, which means we are experiencing our own paradigm shift: we are no longer overhead, we are revenue influencers. In many cases, revenue drivers!

11. Need to Adapt Quickly to Survive against Coronavirus

Alistair Bambridge, Owner of Bambridge Accountants

There will be a shift from people being employed to starting their own businesses or forming partnerships to work together. As established businesses will struggle to meet the costs of office or retail rent, staff, and other committed costs, individuals will be able to start fresh and build their own businesses.

There will be a focus on startups as we see people taking risks and becoming more entrepreneurial. These are tough times and many people will want to face that head-on and take back control by trying to create something for themselves. Although it is a time of great uncertainty, it will give rise to a new generation of entrepreneurs who have adapted and find new ways to work and create successful businesses.

Established businesses will do well to monitor the fresh approaches from new entrepreneurs and will need to adapt quickly to survive if the measures from Coronavirus continue throughout the year.

12. Need to Refine Strategies due to the COVID-19 Outbreak

Karim Ben-Jaafar, President of Beanworks

The economy has been growing steadily for the past 12 years. Finance professionals understand that the impact of COVID-19 has yet to be fully realized, but undoubtedly we are now in a period of recession. This means that reducing costs and reducing risks have never been more important.

Look for the financial stewards of your company’s interests to take a more active role in strategy, purchasing decisions, and general operations of the business.

13. Shifting to Cloud-Based Accounting Software is Required

Ronika Khanna, Founder of Montreal Financial

One of my primary roles is Over the past few years, I have been trying to encourage my clients to move their accounting systems to the cloud. In 2020 I look forward to moving most of my clients to cloud-based accounting software that not only helps them save time through automation and provide better reporting but allows them to access all of their data remotely so that they can work from anywhere.

By adding our firm as an accountant to their files, we can provide support and guidance at any time and from any place, thereby allowing us to solve their problems speedily. Also, we look forward to providing guidance and training to my clients on setting up accounting software for their businesses.

Also Read: Having Questions about Cloud Accounting Solutions? Get the Answers Here

14. Expecting more Work-from-Home Environment

Trent Sutton, Fractional Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Full Velocity Consulting

“In 2020 we look forward to more employees and employers embracing the work-from-home lifestyle post-COVID-19, opening the door to even more flexible workers including fractional team members through shared executive and staffing organizations.”

Conclusion

This concludes the fact that most of the accounting firms are looking to incorporate the use of the technology to streamline their processes, and those who have already adopted the technology are looking for innovations in the same in 2020.

This year has started with an epidemic named coronavirus, which has impacted accounting firms worldwide, adding to their complexity of managing their processes, clients, and competitors simultaneously. So, what could be the best option for accounting firms amidst the COVID-19 outbreak?

Well, the best way to deal with this situation and eliminate the stress associated with the overburden of work is to outsource non-core operations to renowned firms. Are you also in a similar situation and feeling overwhelmed with work due to a shortage of staff or a lack of time? Meet Cogneesol, an established outsourcing firm providing back-office support to accounting firms worldwide for 13 years.

Contact us to get started with your 14-day free trial now!

Also Read:

Why Outsourcing is a Growth Engine for Accounting Firms?

A Comprehensive Guide to RPA Implementation in Financial Reporting

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