The Future of Accounting: 6 Changes Accountants Can Look Forward To

Anand Balasubramanian
October 5, 2022

As we enter Q4 2022, many are beginning to look forward to the end of the year and what comes next. A recent poll found that 82% of accountants say that their clients expect more from them than they did five years ago. Being aware of the future of accounting and how the industry is changing can help you continue to exceed client expectations. It will also help you work smart and keep informed about changes to standards and regulations. Here are a few things experts are predicting about the future of accounting. 

Technology will make accounting more efficient

AI and automation aren’t new to the accounting industry. The future of accounting will see automation, machine learning, and other intelligent accounting solutions taking on a more significant role. 

Accounts payable automation is shown to lead to 80% increased operational efficiency and a 366% ROI. Tools like Glean AI free accounts payable teams from manual, labor-intensive, and time-consuming data entry and approval workflows. It can automatically escalate key insights about vendor spend to help teams see where they might find additional cost savings.

Ultimately, accounting technologies are able to help AP teams work more productively and spend time on high-value tasks. These tools can process and approve invoices without required data entry, make payments, sync bills with GL systems, and get deep insights to fuel growth. Far from replacing accountants, they empower professionals to work smarter, not harder. 

Blockchain will enter accounting practices

Blockchain market growth is projected to reach 59% between 2016 and 2024. And as blockchain becomes more mainstream, it will begin to impact the accounting sector and present new ways to work. 

A quick refresher for those unfamiliar with blockchain: the blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions that are distributed across an entire network of computer systems. Each block on the chain contains a number of transactions that can be viewed and verified by everyone on the network. This structure promises an accurate, transparent, and iron-clad way to store information. 

For accountants, the blockchain can help with record keeping, since records cannot be forged or tampered with, and multiple parties verify each transaction. This has positive implications for auditing and the way accountants prepare and verify financial statements. 

The rise of “agile accounting” 

Agile accounting originates from the agile framework, most commonly used in software development. The core tenet of agile is to continuously adapt and respond to changes, working flexibly and nimbly. 

Agile accounting can mean different things to different organizations, which is what makes it the buzzword of the future of accounting. For some teams, agile accounting manifests in working with cloud-based platforms to enable accountants to work remotely. For other teams, agile means responding quickly to changes in the economy and adopting new practices that offer a competitive edge. 

The key takeaway: The future of accounting is getting more flexible. Whether it’s introducing new SaaS platforms, making remote work permanent, or offering regular workshops and training to stay on top of industry trends, more and more accounting firms are embracing agility. 

New expectations for accountants

Perhaps the biggest change in recent years has been the evolution of the CPA exam. 

“The 100-plus year-old licensing gold standard recently announced that its 2021 exam would push an emphasis on understanding business processes, automation, data analytics, and ‘the need for a digital and data-driven mindset,’” wrote Oracle

These changes also shift the outlook for the future of accounting. Experts predict that accountants will be seen as leaders and decision-makers. Your client relationships will become less transactional as accounting technology empowers accountants to spend less time on admin and more time on analysis. 

A focus on client satisfaction

In alignment with the shifting role of accountants as leaders, accounting professionals will be held to a higher standard of customer satisfaction. 

Automation and other intelligent accounting software will help crunch numbers and manage workflows, leaving accountants with more time to spend on providing a great client experience. In fact, accounting professionals who are able to build strong client relationships will lower their client turnover and increase their profit margin. It costs far less to keep an existing customer than to recruit a new one. 

The need for data security

Accounting teams that work remotely have to store, use and share customer data online. Unfortunately, with the rise of remote work comes the increased risk of a data breach. Hackers are targeting businesses of all sizes to steal personal data, credit card information, and other intellectual property. 

Vet each of your accounting software partners for security. Glean AI, for instance, is SOC 2 Type I compliant and offers enterprise-grade protection, service, and resiliency you can trust. Look for tools like Glean AI that offer user access management settings to make it easy to actively manage which users have access to which information. 

The future of accounting looks bright. Whether it’s new technologies that enable accountants to work productively or new approaches to working flexibly, these are changes that benefit clients and accountants alike. To learn more about the future of accounting from Glean AI一request a demo today. 

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