across the world
Accounting Departments and Firms Reveal What They Look Forward to!
Every year, new innovations and technologies enter the market and refine and redefine 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. It is crucial to be consistent with technology and innovation, along with working on marketing strategies.
Know the Expert Opinion on the Changing Landscape of Accounting Firms
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 the upcoming year 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indicators with new technology that enables us to invoice clients based on the value of the service instead of the outdated per hour rate system.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 new Vision!
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.
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. Several bookkeeping firms have the capacity to look out for their clients’ security, and both internal and external controls. I want to see outsourced accounting firms embrace automation to have the capacity to look ahead for their clients and plan for the future, not just report on the past.
Moreover, 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
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.
7. Collaborating Technology with Customer Service is Required
Stephen, Director of Cheltenham Tax Accountants
This 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. This 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. Ths year 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? This 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. 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. 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 also 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. We look forward to providing guidance and training to my clients on setting up accounting software for their businesses.
14. Expecting more Work-from-Home Environment
Trent Sutton, Fractional Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Full Velocity Consulting
“In the upcoming year, 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.”
In a nutshell, experts have emphasized more on the technological impact on the accounting industry. More and more accountants are opting for technology to automate and streamline processes. Leveraging advanced tools has become the ultimate way to manage processes, clients, and competitors for accounting firms.
Using the right technology can help accounting firm owners to eliminate stress and work overburden. Moreover, outsourcing accounting is another way to increase your capacity if the employee attrition rate is challenging.
If you are in a similar situation and feeling overwhelmed with work due to a shortage of staff or a lack of time, get in touch with Cogneesol. We are an established outsourcing firm providing back-office support to accounting firms worldwide since 2008.
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