Every profession and industry go through times when they must adjust and change due to culture, technology, and other factors. The accounting profession is no different, as we’ve seen with the changes taking place over the last few years. Here are some new trends in the accounting industry you may have noticed:
More Diversity And Flexibility
As the face of our nation becomes increasingly diverse, so will our profession. The exodus of Baby Boomers from the profession is creating a vacuum that the traditional pipeline will not be able to fill. Seeking to meet demand, the accounting profession will have to overhaul their recruiting efforts to encourage and enable entrance into the profession by those previously overlooked.
In order to attract and retain new talent, firms will need to become more flexible with working arrangements. Things like family leave, flexible schedules and working from home are very important to the Millennial Generation, who will be stepping in to fill the vacuum left by the retiring Baby Boomers. We will even start to see more and more “virtual offices” popping up, where everyone works from home.
Increased Importance of Succession Planning
As mentioned above, Baby Boomers are beginning to retire. This may not have a considerable effect on very large firms, but it greatly impacts small firms and solo-practitioners. What will happen in a small firm when the owner decides to retire? Is he going to simply close up shop, bring in a new partner, sell out to another firm? Clients want to know. As a CPA, it is your fiduciary duty to provide some sort of plan for them.
The idea of succession planning has come up frequently the last few years, but many CPAs are still putting it off. As the Baby Boomer accountants continue to age, it becomes a more and more crucial conversation. In the near future, expect succession planning to take front and center.
As more of what we do moves online, from cloud-based storage to emailing documents, security is becoming the predominant concern of many firms. Most firms are making a concerted effort to reduce their vulnerability, from deploying portal technology across a large firm’s entire client base to more affordable and simple email encryption technology.
The advent of BYOD (bring your own device), where staff members work on their own electronic devices instead of company-provided ones, has added yet another security risk. Plenty of firms have realized that forbidding the use of personal devices is a losing battle and are finding ways to embrace it without compromising their clients’ private information. We are seeing increasing and more effective policies and procedures being put in place to control sensitive data in a way that allows staff to work on the device of their choice.
Most CPAs are beginning to come to terms with the fact that involvement in social media is a requirement nowadays. Without a social media presence, most businesses all but cease to exist in the eyes of the public. Social media is necessary to promote yourself and build awareness of your services and network. However, more than a marketing tool, social media allows you a window into your clients’ lives. As you follow their tweets, blogs and Facebook posts, you can learn about your clients, what they are doing and thinking, and how you can better serve them. It also doesn’t hurt to keep tabs on the competition through social media as well.
Higher Level Service Offerings
Since the introduction of the first spreadsheet, technology has been taking work out of the hands of accountants. As automation becomes more and more effective, many things once handled by accounting staff, such as data entry, will be computerized. The higher level of service computers provide, the higher level of services CPAs must provide in order to avoid being replaced.
Even the IRS is getting onboard with automation, especially with its investigation and notice procedures. The IRS is advancing technologically, and eventually, they will be automatically populating tax returns as well. That will take yet another thing out of the hands of CPAs and they will be forced to add value elsewhere.
One way you can add value to your clients is by integrating wealth management into your service offerings. You don’t need to go back to school or get any special certification to do so if you work with CPA Squared. We have a proven model and step-by-step process that makes it easy for you to provide a higher level of service to your clients. Stay ahead of the curve and call us today at 860-659-5977 ext. 204 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About CPA Squared
The CPA Squared program is an easy to implement turn-key program to successfully integrate wealth management services into your practice. With our proven model and step-by-step process, there is no easier way to expand your business beyond the traditional accounting services and make it stand out from the crowd. Please call us at 860-659-5977 ext. 204, so we can discuss how we can help you build your firm.