The accounting profession is in the midst of a sweeping transformation. The expectations, capabilities, priorities, and practices of finance & accounting are all in flux. These changes are being fueled by advances in technology, new competitive demands, and a growing acknowledgment that the industry is overdue for innovation and evolution.
The mood in the industry is excited but also a little uncertain. Accountants are understandably anxious about what their role will be moving forward. That is hard to know, but the best way to prepare is to track where the industry is headed and occupy a position ahead of the curve.
Some predictions for the profession in 2018 are outlined below. The list is far from complete, but these are the issues we believe will have the biggest impact on individual accountants, accounting firms, and the entire industry in 2018:
Cybersecurity Becomes a Paramount Priority
Companies like Equifax and Yahoo demonstrated how damaging a cyber-attack can be. Considering the scope of the current threats, the depth of the potential consequences, and the vulnerability of financial data, accountants (not just IT professionals) must get serious about cybersecurity. The cloud has become the preferred platform for its ability to improve efficiency and productivity while lowering costs. In 2018 the cloud will become even more popular for its innate ability to detect and deflect threats while making effective cybersecurity more economical and accessible.
Legacy Systems Set to Expire
Accountants have been struggling to make legacy systems work for years now, but that will no longer be possible in 2018. The potential of next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning is immense. The problem is that these technologies are fundamentally out of step with hardware and software that is decades old. If accountants are going to take advantage of all that the future has to offer they must abandon aging legacy systems.
Accounting Goes Enterprise-Wide
Professionals both inside and outside the accounting department now realize that accounting data cannot be segregated from other types of data. In order for reporting to be effective and to serve the greatest strategic ends it must incorporate financial data with information from sales, marketing, distribution, and other departments. In 2018 and beyond accountants will increasingly require tools that can seamlessly integrate data onto a single scalable platform.
Outsourcing as an Advantage
Professionals often struggle to focus on new trends, developments, advantages, and opportunities when they're forced to dedicate their time and energy to routine tasks. That puts them at a disadvantage as the pace of change in accounting rises rapidly and pushes the industry into exciting new directions. Outsourcing routine responsibilities to a managed services provider will become more popular in 2018 as firms strive to focus forward rather than backward.
AcctTwo occupies a spot on the cutting-edge of accounting, and we could not be more excited about where the industry is headed. Accountants are now thought of as assets rather than administrators. And as a result, they are becoming more essential than ever. When you're ready to have a conversation about the future of your organization's accounting department (and your career), contact AcctTwo.