The turmoil of the last couple of years has affected every industry, with new processes, policies and behavioural shifts changing the way we all operate.
Naturally, accounting is on the front line and accountants must adapt as the scenery shifts. 2022 is set to create more of the same challenges – and opportunities – as we explore here.
Many businesses are now seeking more from their accountants. They are looking for holistic advice, rather than ‘just’ transactional accountancy.
This demand is caused by the sheer number of big questions concerning keeping business afloat in a time of crisis and rapid change. It’s also driven by changes in tax regulations, the law and the unstoppable advance of digital technology.
Traditional accounting tasks such as bookkeeping and tax returns are complex and time consuming, but generate fairly low margin income.
But the days when the role of an accountant was essentially to do the figure work and create a report are largely gone, and with the help of technology, you can develop your professional role, providing insights and analysis, far above and beyond figure work.
The good news is, providing these high-value services is a healthy growth area, potentially profitable and professionally fulfilling.
By harnessing the power of automation, you will be able to minimise time spent on calculations and ‘number crunching’, while maximising your analytical and advisory input. In essence, you’re providing greater value, while using up less time.
The use of technology in accounting is hardly anything new, but from now on it needs to be second nature and centre stage.
Mobile platforms are essential for servicing your clients – even more so since the pandemic accelerated the culture of remote working.
More and more, technology will be at the heart of professional accounting relationships. There will be a shift towards seamless, ongoing communication between you and your client throughout the financial year, supported by multiple channels such as text messaging and video calls. This is a move away from the single yearly meeting, towards a steady flow of smaller interactions, facilitated by secure, cloud-based solutions.
These automated accounting processes have grown in prominence over the last few years, and this trend will continue through 2022 and beyond. Tried and trusted solutions such as QuickBooks and Sage have liberated accountants from the timewasting plod of manual data entry and have streamlined everything. According to McKinsey, 50% of accounting tasks can be automated through currently available technologies.
This is how technology will support your move towards a more lucrative and satisfying role as a professional adviser. Now you can provide the latest, most accurate financial information based on real-time analytical data: detailed, valuable reporting that supports your client’s core business strategy.
Over 60% of accountants aim to outsource their compliance work to outsourcing organisations. It’s a good way to cut costs and create time that can be spent on more profitable advisory work. Entrusting this responsibility to a dedicated expert firm also gives you access to their specialist knowledge and experience. An outsourcing company will know exactly what’s happening in terms of the latest legislation, practices and technology.
Once more, digitisation is the catalyst in this growing trend, through advanced cybersecurity and automation. Outsourcing was once viewed with trepidation, but cutting-edge technology and tighter government regulations make it safer and more secure.
The age-old problem of keeping your clients over the long term will be alive and well in 2022. The sheer volume of competitors will ensure that there is always another accountant aiming their marketing effort at your best contacts.
The answer is to strengthen your business relationships and make them more individual – inevitably through the use of AI and automation. You need to establish yourself as a trusted partner on a whole range of business issues, beyond ‘the books’. It’s vital to demonstrate a genuine understanding of their aims, pain points and the wider sector.
If you can deliver tailored services and customised solutions that feel unique, you will be able to build trusted, long-term relationships with your clients.
One thing we can be sure of in 2022 is that you will still be able to work remotely, away from the confines of the office and the traditional 9am-5pm routine. It will be possible to operate much more flexibly and work when you feel most productive, or when your clients’ need your support. Commuting and rigid schedules didn’t necessarily make you a better accountant…
If you run a team, you will continue to benefit from colleagues’ better understanding of how and when they deliver their best, and you’ll also likely see better morale and greater retention of key people. There are a huge number of benefits of remote working to the advisory industry.
The accountancy industry in 2022 and beyond is transforming. But for tech-savvy, well-prepared professionals, there’ll be nothing daunting about these developments. They represent real opportunities. You just need to make sure that you have the right technology in place, and the knowledge to unleash its potential.
Always be ready to adapt to the latest innovations and watch closely for ways in which you can make yourself a true asset for clients – because this is the key to success. You need to be an extension of their business, perfectly aligned to their aims and targets, and in tune with the challenges they’re facing.
The constantly evolving digital world should give you the power to be indispensable!
Explore some of the articles on our website to find out more about the changing face of accountancy in 2022 and beyond, including information on how to become an accountant. Keep an eye open for more relevant news and articles and follow us on our social media too.
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