The Top 2021 Accounting Industry Trends That Will Shape Your Firm’s Success
Now that the extended tax season is just about behind us, it’s time to turn the focus of your firm to some of the key accounting industry trends. Understanding how your industry is performing can help shape your success this year and in the years ahead.
6 accounting industry growth trends to stay on top of
Here’s a list of the trends that are having a positive impact on accounting practices now and can help you build a strong foundation for the future:
1. Remote work will reign indefinitely
While the pandemic made remote work a necessity, by all accounts it’s here to stay. According to a 2020 survey published by Arizent, 85% of CPA firms will allow their firms to work from home even after the pandemic (Accounting Today, 2020). In fact, it is likely that firms that do not continue to provide a remote work option for their staff will suffer from loss of talent as employees look for remote options to maximize work-life balance.
Another reason the remote work trend is likely to continue is simply because of the efficiencies it provides operationally and from a client service perspective. In order to take full advantage of this trend, of course, you’ll need to have a completely cloud-based, connected tech stack to support your team as they work remotely.
2. Automation will add to the bottom line of progressive firms
As you have no doubt seen in your own firm, the need to automate repetitive processes is a key trend in the industry. In addition to being more cost efficient and improving productivity, automation can also help to minimize errors while providing the peace of mind and added protection of additional security benefits. It can also increase the bandwidth of your staff, allowing you to serve more clients with a higher level of service, too.
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3. Cloud-based technology adoption will continue.
Hand-in-hand with the trend toward automation, is the continued increase in adoption of cloud-based technologies to improve productivity. Building an accounting firm that can run exclusively in the cloud is the way of the future, allowing you to create a more flexible, productive and secure practice. Investing in cloud-based technologies will also allow you to serve clients remotely and reduce your security risks.
4. Data analytics drive decision-making.
Another key 2021 accounting industry trend is the use of data to drive decision-making. This is, of course, is the backbone of strategic planning for both you and your clients—which means having the right tools from which to extract key performance indicators and financial metrics is paramount. A cloud-based practice management platform is one of the fundamental technology tools progressive firms are using to tap into this trend in order to gain the information necessary to make smart decisions regarding plans to scale and strategies for meeting their overall business goals.
5. Cryptocurrency and blockchain offer profitable niches.
Over the past several years, the IRS has focused on building more comprehensive tax laws regarding cryptocurrency and blockchain transactions. In 2021, the IRS is continuing to make these areas a key focus for its agents which means more taxpayers will need assistance with reporting their cryptocurrency and blockchain transactions. Accounting firms can seize on this trend by developing expertise in the taxation aspect of virtual currencies to build profitable niches.
6. Artificial Intelligence becomes mainstream.
Just a few years ago, the thought of incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into accounting firm operations seemed like a far-off fantasy. Fast forward to today and it is a key trend in the accounting profession. One reason why is because AI allows firms to analyze large volumes of data at high speeds, which means increased productivity and the ability to efficiently generate accurate data.
AI is a key 2021 accounting industry trend which will no doubt come into the mainstream in the next few years, to support firms in their decision-making as well as providing the ability to offer sophisticated client advisory services as well which can be a very lucrative source of revenue in the future.
Redefine your firm’s growth strategy
It’s easy to get stuck in the status-quo when your firm is busy during tax season and the day-to-day delivery of your current services. However, it is imperative for the future growth and success of your firm to keep abreast of current trends and incorporate the ones that will have a positive impact on your firm each year. For 2021, consider what your strategic goals are, gather the data to drive your strategic decision making, then make a plan to move your firm forward with these 2021 accounting industry trends.