It's been tough few years for finance and accounting professionals. With changes to traditional models of working and business disrupted by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the fast-changing technology environment and a new breed of agile, tech-driven solutions are changing the industry forever. In the next year, staying ahead of accounting and finance industry trends is essential, as we see which businesses learn to adapt and succeed in a changing landscape.
There's a whole new wave of technology that is changing the face of accounting forever. With recent figures showing that cloud accounting is used by 58% of enterprises and 82% of small businesses, it's clear cloud accounting and finance software looks set to stay. More than ever, businesses are looking for accounting software that is cost effective, meets their needs and doesn't require a large upfront investment of time and money. The move to cloud based accounting and finance software, in particular, was accelerated because of the pandemic. It has become very popular within business communities because of its low cost and flexibility.
The market for accounting software was valued at over $12 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach over $19 billion by 2026—and the cloud accounting software market could reach over $4 billion by 2023. Factors such as increased demand for cloud-based solutions, growing focus on automation, and rising use of mobile devices are fueling the growth of the accounting software market. One of the biggest benefits of cloud-based accounting and finance software is the ability to access your data anywhere, at any time, through an internet connection. This means you don't need to be tied down to your desk or office while running your business. You can take your laptop or tablet on the road with you and continue working as if you were in the office—accessing financial records, cash flow forecast, profit-and-loss statements, and balance sheet, while you're on the go.
Most organizations outsource something to someone, even if it's only their IT support function, or cleaning. Recently, the trend for outsourcing some or all of your accounts and finance department is becoming more and more common. Due to the complexities of the process and the need for skilled accountants and finance professionals, it has become an increasingly popular solution for companies looking to grow rapidly, manage employee absence, or needing for specialized skills.
When the scope of your business requires more sophisticated accounting services than those provided off the shelf software packages, outsourcing your accounting and finance tasks is a great solution. You can get help with Pay & Bill and Payroll, Bookkeeping, Credit Control, Management Accounting and Reporting, and Accountancy and Financial Consultancy.
As a business leader, your time is valuable and you can sometimes feel that you're being pulled in every direction. Outsourcing frees up your team from time-consuming tasks, reduces overheads, lowers cost, offers flexibility and is shown to help improve efficiency, offers continuity of service and fewer disruptions for clients.
The Great Resignation is a term being used to describe the phenomenon where professionals at all stages of their career are leaving the corporate world to pursue their dreams of starting their own business, moving into a more fulfilling role elsewhere, or taking early retirement.
It's no secret—like other industries around the world—the accounting sector is feeling the impact of resignations. Driven largely by the pandemic, in recent years, the industry has endured a plague of accounting professionals leaving their firms to pursue other interests, or explore new opportunities. There are over 1.1 million accountants employed in the United States, with an average age of over forty and research shows it is common for an accountant to stay at a company for only one or two years. As more people resigning from their role, many firms are struggling with how to retain accounts and finance staff—leaving employers on a constant recruitment cycle.
Workers who leave for greener pastures can cause an enormous problem for businesses, particularly if they are at an advanced level in the company. For example, an accountant or financial controller leaving their role can cause months of disruption while they train someone else to fill their shoes—not only costing time and money but also negatively impacting the productivity and morale of other staff members.
There's no doubt that the accounting profession is one where many employees have been considering better opportunities. And given the tight labor market and the difficulties in finding qualified candidates for job openings, it's little surprise that employers are coming up with novel ways to attract and retain accounting professionals and introduce new strategies, like outsourcing, to manage the Great Resignation.
In today's fast-paced business world, it is vital to adopt new ways of working. The rise in data analytics has led to accountants increasingly being called upon to provide more than just financial reporting and compliance advice. Business owners want to know how they can get more out of their finances, reduce cost, increase profitability and improve their customer service. Many accountants are now taking on a broader role as advisors and consultants in these areas.
Data analytics lead to improved processes and efficiency—saving time and money. The ability to review financial results quickly allows accountants to better understand the process and recommend costs reductions and ways to save time. Accountants can also use predictive data analytics to determine pricing and create better forecasts that give business owners a clearer idea of what they should expect in the future. An accountant's role is changing in the face of new technology. There is a need to become more strategic, moving towards initiatives that will help make their clients' businesses more efficient and profitable.
The way we work is changing. The pandemic was a catalyst for a shift to more flexible working, away from a traditional office space. As the world emerges from the pandemic, employees are calling on employers for a better work life balance, with a rise in demand for agile working, hybrid working, working from home (WFH), and working from anywhere (WFA).
To meet this demand, employers are embracing new ways of working in which employees can work wherever and whenever they please. This brings about the need for employees to have greater self-organisation skills, accountability and the ability to balance their own workload against the demands of their employer.
Millennials and Generation Z are the new generation of workers and entering the workforce in greater numbers every day. By 2030, Gen Z are expected to make up 40% of the labor force. There is no avoiding the call for change. The traditional office environment is being replaced by a new workforce that works remotely and if you aren't keeping up, your business will fall behind in the race to attract the best talent.
These days, the skills a finance professional needs to succeed are ever evolving. At some point in their careers, almost every accountant or finance professional will have to learn a new skill.
For example, artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the finance sector. From real-time audit and reporting to fraud detection, AI can save time and money while meeting ever-changing regulations and consumer demands. The rise of blockchain is another example of how technology is shaping finance. This emerging technology is already being used by many organizations to secure digital transactions and protect data. Many experts believe blockchain has the potential to revolutionize accounting, audit, tax compliance, and even stock markets.
The need for continuous training never stops, and the rise of new technology, blockchain, AI, and automated work practices makes upskilling and reskilling essential for accounting and finance professionals. A recent survey showed 57% of accounts said they felt technology literacy was the most important skill for employees in the accounting and finance sector, followed by relationship building (46%), and business advisory (44%).
Those who can leverage these skills and technologies will be the ones who stay ahead of their peers.
Accounting is a crucial component of every business. This means every successful business needs a strong and experienced accounting team to take care of their finances. As technology continues to make inroads into the world of accounting, businesses can expect new roles to emerge in the future - roles that haven't even been dreamed up yet.
The accounts and finance department is the backbone of any business. Keeping clients happy, offering excellent customer service and providing trusted advice are all critical. In a 2020 survey of over 3,000 accountants, 87% agreed that clients expect more flexibility and better service levels from accountants-without an increase in their rates. But for many businesses, the biggest challenge is finding and keeping qualified employees.
The ever-changing nature of the business world means that many firms are facing unique challenges when it comes to accounting. Although some companies are unable to find qualified professionals to fill positions, others are struggling with finding talent that can adapt quickly enough to keep up with their growth. The rise in outsourcing is one trend that business leaders should embrace. It helps reduce costs, improves efficiently, lowers overheads and keeps businesses ahead of the curve. One thing is for sure, those businesses that step out of their comfort zone and embrace change will be the winners in 2022.
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