The accounting industry tends to shift every year, just ask any CPA. New laws and regulations often change the way accountants do business, while a shifting market helps the industry evolve — and 2015 is no exception. Technology is fueling many of the current accounting trends, but just as important is the difference in how people do business, both professionally and personally. From experienced accountants to future CPAs, staying on top of current accounting trends is one of the main ways to stay relevant.
Keep a pulse on these eight important accounting trends in 2015.
Updated Service Options and Greater Value
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Technology is innovatively disrupting accounting, according to Forbes. Many people are filing their own taxes, removing a significant source of income from many accounting firms. As a result, many companies in the accounting industry are faced with reworking their product and service mix. Value needs to be added to consulting and advisory roles.
Catering to the Aging
One of the biggest opportunities rests in continuity planning for the rapidly aging population in the U.S. Accounting firms can reclaim some of the income lost through DIY tax preparation by advising clients about the best ways to structure assets for future generations and help them phase in those changes.
With a shrinking client base, competition in the accounting industry can be fierce. This competition leads to frequent consolidations of firms. Many larger firms, like BDO and McGladrey, are buying up smaller firms to acquire their clients.
Stricter Education Requirements
Staff costs are also rising. Fewer trained accountants, and even fewer people who have received training beyond a CPA, exist. Accounting firms are competing to hire more experienced, more educated staff members.
As the cost to attract highly qualified employees goes up, the expectations for those people also rises. Accounting firms are expecting their paid staff to actively contribute to the future success of the company, attracting new business and being mindful of the return on investment each client meeting presents.
Travel Becoming Mandatory
As competition for clients rises, accounting firms expect more from their staff, but they also need to deliver more as a company. This often means introducing on-site visits and offering secure services using cloud services, according to Accounting Today.
The same Accounting Today article highlights social listening as an important accounting trend in 2015. As more people engage with social media, smart accounting firms pay attention to what their clients are tweeting and posting on Facebook, and make informed connections with them. Social listening gives companies in the accounting industry the opportunity to contact clients when they have some issue with which an accountant can help.
Increase in Outsourcing
Many accounting firms are starting to outsource in 2015. This outsourcing could mean hiring outside staff for simple tasks such as data entry or using freelance workers to add new services for clients. For example, an accounting firm could contract with a financial analysis expert or business plan writer to offer support for small business owners through the accounting firm.
Today, accounting firms are facing different trends that are rapidly shaping the way successful firms do business within this industry.