The Future of Accounting in the Digital Age: Trends and Predictions

Accounting, like essentially any other industry in the world today, is quickly being reshaped by technology.

Sure, when people think of accountants they often picture the nerdy looking middle-aged man huddled over a stack of tax forms doing math equations in his head (heck, my dad is an accountant and he fits that description to a T), but in reality the future of accounting, and the future of society it seems, is digital; but that really shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Technology nowadays is simply a quick fix for any problem that needs solving and any job that needs doing, regardless of the industry, and accounting is no different.

To get a better idea of how current technologies have affected the more traditional accounting practices over the last few years let’s take a look at some of the new programs and techniques used by accountants, some of the current trends in the business, and what the predictions for the future of the industry look like.

Technology and Accounting

Recent Advancements

There are some noteworthy technologies, techniques, and programs now available to accountants that stand out from the majority and are quickly becoming quite popular within the world of accounting.

A couple examples of these include:

  • Cloud Accounting – cloud accounting is a piece of software currently available that enables you to keep records of company data and client accounts in a cloud-based storage system online, allowing this data to be accessed easily from anywhere in the world.
  • Artificial Intelligence – many monotonous duties that were once taken care of by hand are now being carried out automatically by programs designed to organize, allocate, and highlight various pieces of data.

Trends

Of course with technology and new products and systems come trends: a collective movement towards a new and popular way of doing something.

Some current trends in the accounting world are:

  • Appsnot surprisingly, even when it comes to accounting, “there’s an app for that”. Popular apps you may find throughout accounting firms today include time management apps, data presentation apps, and even apps designed specifically for various accounting-related tasks, such as bookkeeping or tax preparing.
  • Social Media – even accounting firms are beginning to utilize social media to their advantage. While a few years ago it may have come across as unprofessional, today social media provides businesses with a free and easy way to market services and connect with clients/potential clients.

Predictions for the Future

The industry is transforming, that much is clear; but what is accounting expected to look like a few years from now?

One conclusion that is easy to draw is that the focus of accounting is beginning to shift from process- and data-based to client-based. As more of the technicalities of the job become automated and easily handled through a variety of programs, accountants are beginning to put more energy into improving their customer relations, communication skills, etc.

It’s also quite obvious that the jump into automation will result in job cuts. As artificial intelligence programs become prominent within accounting firms, they will quickly begin to replace actual employees. This shrinking pool of available jobs will make the industry more competitive than it already is.

As the industry becomes more competitive and positions become fewer and further in between, it only makes sense that firms will raise their standards and seek to hire only the best in the industry. Many predict that this will lead to an increase in remote hiring. As companies seek to find and attract the best of the best, they are going to have no choice but to extend their searches beyond their local pool of candidates.

In order to attract the attention of these top quality candidates, companies are going to have to provide the benefits they are looking for. In today’s society (considering the millennials that make up the newest and possibly biggest tier in the candidate pool) the most desirable benefit is a flexible work-life balance. Many millennials are actively seeking for jobs that break them out of the typical 9-5 mold, that allow them to travel, and that give them the freedom to create their own schedules. It will be no surprise when accounting firms begin to restructure their work environment to keep up with these growing and changing demands.

Pursuing an Education and Career in Accounting

Although the industry may be shifting into a more competitively-natured manner of operations, that should not deter you from pursuing a career in the field accounting.

Why Choose Accounting

An accounting degree affords you a diverse and unique variety of potential employment situations, and a lot of them.

Almost every company across every industry needs an accountant (or team of accountants) to take care of essentially everything regarding their finances (or at least their books and their taxes). This alone makes accounting a very global degree.

Not only does accounting provide desirable prospects, but it is also a safe bet – it is one of the only “close to recession proof” career options out there. Even during difficult times (or especially during difficult times) companies will be in need of an accountant.

A career in accounting is the perfect opportunity for those who want a client-centric and technology-driven future that is both reliable yet constantly-evolving.

The Future is Now

We are in a world that is constantly changing and evolving thanks to our continuous advances in technology and the humble world of accounting is not exempt from this.

Technology is the future – it is already having significant impacts on the jobs we do and how we do them. More and more industries are shifting into the digital age and it is time that we embrace these changes.