Thanks to accounting software and other technological advances, the field of accounting is evolving. Although basic accounting concepts remain constant, the process of gathering and reporting financial performance has become more accurate and efficient. Accountants no longer need to spend as much time calculating and checking numbers, leaving them free to partner with small businesses in financial planning and creating growth strategies. Here are just a few recent trends indicating how the future of accounting continues to benefit CPAs and their small business clients.
Social Media Advances
Accountants are utilizing social media to gain recognition as experts in the financial marketplace. Firms with large social media platforms can also assist clients by helping them gain exposure and also placing them in contact with potential business partners. Embracing social media has also been noted as one way to leverage technology and deliver superior services to clients in a recent AICPA report on the future of the accounting industry.
Cloud technology has changed the playing field for all facets of accounting. Cloud data storage enables “virtual firms” to operate with no physical office. Accounting expertise can be spread over larger geographic areas and niche firms can serve clients located outside their local market. Cloud technology also increases the efficiency of the accounting process. Small companies utilizing a cloud accounting system can easily pass information back and forth to their accountants over a highly secure connection. This saves time that was previously spent manually gathering and transporting data.
Smart Devices Help Accountants Work Smarter
Imagine storing accounting rules and regulations tucked inside your briefcase on a simple tablet. Mobile technology and smart devices allow accountants greater access to technical information. Industry experts can be linked in to meetings via conferencing apps such as Skype. Answers to complex accounting questions can now be researched in real time and accessed anywhere by CPAs or other financial experts.
CPA Firms Will Be Run Like Corporations
A recent Forbes article predicts that the future of accounting will be shaped by increasing competition. Traditional CPA partnerships will be replaced by corporate-type structures. CEOs and COOs will replace managing partners and profitability of every service provided will be highly scrutinized. Firms need to enhance their flexibility and shift resources among business lines as needed to meet market demand. Another common trend observed in the accounting industry revolves around firms’ efforts to hire and develop strong talent.
The role of an accountant has shifted as technology has changed bookkeeping processes by making financial reporting less time-consuming and more efficient. Today’s accountant must also be a problem solver, industry expert, and strategic adviser.