There’s never been a shortage of work for accountants to juggle, but today’s professionals are faced with much larger, structural changes that are redefining how they operate.
From maintaining pace with advances in AI and automation technology, to counteracting the growing the skills gap, coupled with the intense competition for new customers, it is clear that the accounting profession is on the cusp of a sea change.
Many accountants in the field are concerned about the future of their craft– unsure how they will fulfill increasingly complex customer demands and how they will adapt to become a ‘firm of the future.’ For now, when it comes to just exactly how much accountants’ roles will change in the near future, the ‘Magic 8 Ball’ reads: “Reply hazy, try again.”
Here are the steps that firms can take to stay agile, adapt to emerging technologies and thrive moving forward.
1. Prioritize Tech Adoption to Digitize Operations
The right technology will free up huge amounts of time for firms— time that is typically spent on manual tasks and administrative upkeep. This will allow accountants to focus on what really matters: cultivating stronger relationships with their customers and consistently tracking industry trends to keep their services up-to-date.
To develop a technology-first mindset and digitize your firm’s operations, start by evaluating your core services; then you can consider how they can be improved with technology. For example, if employees are dedicating too much time reconciling client accounts– consider automating this task. When inefficiencies are identified, firms can then research the technologies available to them, vet providers, and test new solutions through free trials and pilot programs to find the best solution.
What’s as important as identifying the technology itself, is finding the right person to oversee your firm’s digital transformation. This person should have relevant expertise and a desire to learn more. Make sure that your team leaders can advise on who may be the best fit for the role, otherwise, pursuing a new hire is necessary.
About Jennifer Warawa
Jennifer Warawa is EVP of Partners, Accountants & Alliances at Sage.