Happy 2021 to all our readers of The Rules of Thumb blog from MoneyThumb! Today we would like to share an excellent guide for accountants with forecasts of what 2021 has in store for the accounting field. It is very detailed and courtesy of Future Firm.
This guide covers trends that are happening at this moment and specific strategies that you can use right now to better prepare you and your accounting firm for the future. Below are the topics covered in the guide:
Future of Accounting Table of Contents
- Automation is Front & Center
- New Skills Required
- Emerging Business Models in Accounting
- Jump on the Client Accounting Services Train
- Google Reigns Supreme for Client Acquisition
- Changing Client Experiences
- Decreased Stress in Accounting Life
- Compliance Services Far From Dead
We researched other accounting professionals' forecasts for 2021. Below are several predictions for 2021 from the experts:
Blackline Magazine offers the following three predictions:
The future of accounting is digital—traditional manual processes are not sustainable and unifying data and processes is essential for survival.
Accounting is moving to a future where the close is virtual, automated, and continuous.
Accounting and finance organizations will prioritize investments in hiring, developing, and retaining top talent.
The International Association of Independent Accounting Firms has the following 5 predictions for accounting in 2021:
Embracing Cloud-Based Accounting Technologies
The Rise of Automation in Accounting
Unlocking the Power of Blockchain in Finance and Accounting
Invest in Data Analytics
Outsourcing Accounting Functions
In an interview with CFO Weekly, Personiv lists the top 5 predictions for accounting in 2021 from that interview:
Remote Work is Here to Stay--A recent Stanford University study showed that 42% of the U.S. labor force is now working from home full time, and of that number, 98% would like for it to remain that way. So this isn’t a trend that is going to go anywhere.
While Zoom meetings won’t ever take the place of face-to-face work, there are obviously a number of benefits to remote work. Business expenses are lowered because you’re spending less money on things like real estate. There’s a bigger applicant pool because geography is no longer a restricting factor in applying for a job. There’s better disaster preparedness, as well as improved employee satisfaction & retention.
“I think companies have been trending toward a work-from-home environment for probably the past two decades, and this pandemic has accelerated that by at least a decade," Weis said.
We'll See Continued Cloud Migration--Focused on moving data to the cloud. You aren't alone. And, according to Weis, you certainly won't be the last to make this critical shift either.
The past decade has seen a slow but steady migration to cloud computing. But as with so many other things, the COVID pandemic has accelerated that adoption of cloud computing by at least a decade. Cloud computing allows easy access from anywhere, at any time, on any device, in real-time.
In 2021, companies are going to continue to migrate their accounting platforms and other applications to the cloud, for a number of reasons. There is an incredible increase in mobility with cloud computing, allowing for access from any device. Cloud computing deploys top-notch security, increased ease of recovery, and improved collaboration & scalability to take into consideration.
Accounting Outsourcing Will Increase - Future of Accounting--Businesses have seen that remote workforces work. When you combine that with the cost reduction associated with outsourcing, there’s going to be an increased demand, particularly for accounting work, in 2021.
"Outsourcing can be a wonderful way for companies to properly staff their accounting needs while maintaining, or even cutting their current budgets," Weis said.
Virtual accounting through outsourcing also helps to alleviate some of the talent shortages in accounting here in the United States. While the U.S. has seen a decrease in accounting graduates and professionals, countries like the Philippines and India have seen an increase, because those are prestigious and sought-after positions in those countries.
Cost Cutting Will be Key & Automation Will Grow--Facing a possible recession here in the United States, the name of the game for CFOs is going to be cost savings. While this is often the case, the COVID pandemic has created even more cause for cost containment.
Companies are going to want to hang on to as much cash as they can, which will lead to an increased desire to automate. And automation can be a great cost-cutting tool.
But before you throw up your hands about automation meaning the loss of jobs, take a breath. Automation can take away the mundane and transactional work, which will require accountants to upscale and focus on analytical and soft skills, allowing them to put their efforts into problem-solving, leadership, and people skills.
- Data Will Take Center Stage--A lot of companies already invest heavily in big data and automation, while failing to realize that the people and processes are the things that are lacking. You can have the most robust data in the world but if you don't have the right people to analyze it and the right processes in place to make sense of it, you’ll not reap the benefits of your data. More and more companies are aligning their people with their goals for analytics and reaping the benefits. They’re seeing cost savings across the board, increased speed of decision making, and continuous improvement in all areas of business.2021 is right around the corner, and while we certainly don't’ have a crystal ball, we’re confident that these trends are indicative of where the industry is headed.
As you can see, all of the above forecasts for the accounting industry in 2021 contain the same touchpoints: the increasing role of data, the trend toward digital and remote work, and automation. The Rules of Thumb blog from MoneyThumb would love it if you could share this post on your social media page so that your accounting peers can take advantage of these 2021 predictions.