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5 accounting trends to watch out for in 2018

Businesses in various sectors have long relied on accountancy services for staying compliant with tax law and financially well-oiled. However, there remains much room for improvement in accountancy services – and this is why your own firm should keep abreast of emerging accountancy trends.

All of the following trends look set to streamline accountancy procedures – and, as a result, corporate operations as well – while 2018 unfolds. We also highlight pitfalls to heed along the way.

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Opportunities – but also difficulties – with globalisation

We can expect globalisation to continue transforming how people do business around the world – though Brexit could cast a long shadow over British firms’ ability to take advantage of this.

In an article for the Association of Accounting Technicians, Manchester Metropolitan University principal lecturer in accounting Anna Hardy-Watmough says that “companies may find that access to certain markets becomes more difficult” due to a “backlash against globalisation”. However, she identifies accounting professionals as a key that could help businesses bypass this particular lock.

Increased automation in accountancy responsibilities

Hardy-Watmough observes the perception that accountancy is “one of the occupations which could see the most automation, as many day-to-day processes become automated”.

As a result, accountancy professionals could come to focus more on advising and managing the risk of clients – and less on “number-crunching”. Nonetheless, even today, it remains possible to utilise much more from an accountant than their technical knowledge.

Technology continues bringing sweeping changes

Companies look likely to rely even more on “big data” for strategic management. Also, professionals certainly won’t be unaffected by the increasing reach of social media, which should allow them to more flexibly interact with customers, but may also necessitate more transparency of disclosures.

Another major change will be the transition of various businesses to cloud accounting. The greater flexibility afforded by this shift is typified by packages from Accounts Lab, a Leeds-based company that saves its clients money by utilising the most recent cloud accounting systems.

Resurgence of face-to-face meetings

You might have expected the increased use of fintech – financial technology – platforms to render face-to-face exchanges between accountancy professionals and their clients less necessary.

However, there has recently been a rising number of businesses seeking face-to-face meet-ups with accountants. It seems that, when there are crucial financial decisions to be made, businesses still don’t see a complete substitute for the human approach.

Often, this is because sharing information among a range of operatives makes business owners uncomfortable – leading them to favour a central contact point instead.

Cyber security

If your business is a small one, it is – unfortunately – most in the firing line for cybercrime, a recent Federation of Small Businesses report has revealed.

According to that report, smaller firms in the UK are, overall, subjected to seven million cyber attacks yearly – to the estimated cost of £5.26 billion to the UK economy. Therefore, we can expect more firms to seek to beef up their security by recruiting relevant financial professionals for the task.

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