After two years of disruption in the world of accountancy recruitment, accountancy accreditation and accountancy as a whole, the entire industry has adapted to a changing economic world, and have become more vital components than ever to ensure a business’ financial recovery.
With the newest talent and graduates entering the profession during a time of uncertainty, here are some of the global trends to expect from the accounting industry in the new year.
Advice And Ambition
Whilst the last two years have often seen accounting firms consolidate their business to ensure they are sustainable for the future, the plans for accountants appears to be further growth, with 29.4 per cent of accountants in one survey saying they want to grow their firm this year.
Part of this is through the expansion of advisory services, which are the value-added services many accounting firms already do as a matter of course, such as managing risk, consultancy and long term strategy to boost profitability in a business.
Cryptocurrency: Celebration, Controversy And Challenge
One of the biggest news stories aside from the obvious over the past year was cryptocurrency for better and for worse, and accountants at all levels are learning what they can about a rapidly moving part of the financial world.
On the one hand, El Salvador became the first country to accept it as legal tender, which would have helped its legitimacy tremendously had the rollout of Chivo, the official wallet of El Salvador, not had one of the worst launches in a year filled with crypto disasters.
Unreliability, identity fraud, volatile prices, public hatred and a frankly baffling Volcano Bonds scheme has caused controversy and caused other countries considering crypto as legal tender to reconsider.
China banned crypto transactions entirely in 2021, which has led to an exceptionally volatile market, and one that accountants will need to carefully navigate over the next twelve months.
Whether bitcoin and other tokens are more accepted or further bans are put in place, accountants will be there to help businesses that invest or plan to invest make the safest and more careful investments.
The Tentative Adoption Of Automation In Accounting
The rise of automation and AI in non-manufacturing fields has been a common subject, often discussed with hushed, concerned tones, but in practice, automation’s application in the accountancy world is likely to be limited to being used as a labour-saving device.
Scheduling meetings, filing invoices and other repetitive tasks could be completed in a fraction of the time with a fraction of the effort needed when completed by hand, and reducing administrative tasks for accounting professionals frees them up to do the jobs they enjoy more.
Remote Working Is Not Going Away
The last two years have been a long-running experiment in remote working, which has actually provided more benefits than disadvantages for accounting firms.
Despite rather unfounded fears, people are more productive, work more hours and generally have a better work-life balance, although the separation between work and personal life has been a concern.
Many firms are likely to make it a permanent option, at least as part of a hybrid or agile arrangement where accountants only go into the office when they actually need to work from the office, such as for face-to-face meetings.
With that in mind, the implications for progression, mentorship and young accountants will need to be managed, to ensure that every accountant gets to fulfil their potential.