12 Accounting Industry Trends for the Future

Like any industry, accounting has its fair share of trends and changes that it contends with. Increased automation, interest in AI and tech, and improved data analytics influence how accounting is done. There are effects on the distribution of accounting jobs and the job description of what an accountant does.

In reaction to market forces, here are accounting industry trends that are moving the profession into the future.

Trend #1: Workplace Automation

Some of the more repetitive accounting tasks the average accountant does are being automated. Things like approval workflows, bank reconciliation, journal entries, consolidations, revenue recognition, lease accounting, and depreciation can all be automated.

More companies are generating big savings by automating as many as a fourth of all accounting tasks.

Trend #2: Artificial Intelligence

The release of ChatGPT has sped up the curiosity and adoption of AI in finance and accounting. AI tagged with automation can take care of mundane tasks, allowing accountants to focus on higher-impact and higher-value activities.

Accountants spend more time making decisions based on the data presented rather than searching for the data, which AI can do.

Trend #3: More Contract Jobs In Accounting

There is a rise in contract accounting jobs among companies not looking to hire a permanent accountant. To reduce costs and streamline finances, a company may request an accountant for a specific project or service.

As contractors, accountants must properly structure their services accordingly and understand how to calculate rates to accommodate contract work.

Trend #4: More Data Analytics & Forecasting Tools

Data analytics and forecasting in small-to-medium-sized businesses have come a long way. Better tools mean better forecasting on budget and planning.

Today, accounting is more analytical than ever before, moving businesses away from being reactionary and more towards being proactive based on the real-time analytics they are seeing. Technology skills are more valued than ever in accounting in this regard.

Trend #5: Cloud-Based Accounting Software

Harmonizing data from multiple sources and in multiple formats is difficult. Accounting software utilizing cloud-based services and AI can process data from all sources.

From supply chain order and production management, an integrated cloud-based accounting software system can merge these sources and provide easy-to-understand actionable data to inform your decisions.

Trend #6: High Rates of Burnout

It’s common for accountants to attempt to manage too many responsibilities and then experience burnout. Like any other stressful job, an accountant must find the time to prioritize mental health and take advantage of any available health insurance programs.

An accountant can easily take on too much, especially with the rise of contract jobs and independent contractor work.

Trend #7: Digitization of Businesses

More businesses are leaning towards doing things digitally. New revenue models are being created. New ways of doing business are presented. Accounting has to adapt to new business strategies and changing market conditions, largely dictated by the available technology.

Trend #8: Proactive Accounting Culture

Accountants must earn and prove themselves in a contract environment, resulting in more proactive accounting.

Instead of the normal day-to-day activities that might come under the role of an accountant, more are looking at how to improve on inefficiencies, better manage data integrity, identify errors, and continually improve and offer value to their employer.

Trend #9: Monitoring of Laws & Regulations

There is never a year when there is no need to monitor relevant laws and regulations, governance rules, etc. This is a focus of accounting, ensuring that a company follows all new and active regulations about the areas in which it operates.

As regulations constantly change, an accountant must focus on how to best prepare a client for shifting conditions.

Trend #10: Accountants as Leaders in Finance

AI and tech are taking over much of the more transactional, data-driven work. Accountants are being relied upon to be decision-makers and leaders.

To this extent, the most successful accountants will be those with leadership and communication skills and those capable of leveraging data to provide unique insights. Data analysis and financial expertise skills will be heavily treasured in the next decade.

Trend #11: Remote Collaboration & WFH Setups

More companies have jumped on board with remote working. Critical accounting and financial processes can become more complicated with teams dispersed across a region and sometimes the world.

In response, accounting must use collaborative tools and cloud-based software to manage duties like obtaining e-signatures and sharing files with relevant stakeholders.

Trend #12: Increased Risk of Data Security

Data breaches are more likely. The risk of identity theft, personal data theft, credit card information being exposed, harmful emails, and more are all more prominent. An accountant must be skilled at being able to spot security risks.

This is an issue facing all remote workers and remote work companies. Unfortunately, the accounting and/or finance departments are often the primary target.