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Five accounting trends that will shape 2021 and beyond

Apr 13, 2021 | Advisors

Over the past few years in the accounting industry, we’ve heard a lot about increasing automation, traditional roles becoming redundant, and changes in client needs and expectations.

To mitigate the potential loss of business because of these substantial changes, has your practice or advisory created new services, understood the wide-ranging impact of remote work, and taken stock of the generation of clients to come?

Here are our five accounting trends for 2021 and beyond.

1) New generation of clients

Move over millennials, Gen Z are here.

The new generation of Gen Z (also known as Zoomers) are true digital natives who have never known a world without high-speed internet, intuitive software, and smartphones. They’re data savvy, wedded to mobile and have barely needed a pen in their lives.

Usually born between the late 1990s and the early 2000s, they’re now of an age to be both starting their own businesses and/or entering accounting services roles themselves after finishing their undergraduate degrees.

  • To keep up, ensure you hire young staff who innately understand their own generation and are abreast of the most recent developments in the accounting world – particularly when it comes to data and cloud technology.
  • Understand that the younger generation will have high expectations when it comes to accounting software and your ability to ‘talk the talk’.

2) Urgency to upskill

With the new generation emerging as both accountants and business owners – alongside rapidly evolving automation and software considerations – comes the necessity of building new skills in your practice.

Whether you hire new talent, nurture a graduate, or enhance the skills of your existing employees is all a matter of circumstance.

  • Ensure you have requisite team skills in the technical and support aspects of accounting software.
  • Bring in or upskill talent in data processing and management.
  • Bring aboard new talent across a range of enhanced business advisory services, outside of core accounting skills.

3) The primacy of client relationship

Relationship building will continue to increase in importance as business advisory services begin to grow in practices across the country.

The self-serve nature of cloud accounting certainly has a role to play here.

Instead of brief and transactional client encounters pertaining to simpler tax matters, building a relationship with your clients leads to lifelong business.

When you really get to know an individual or organisation, you gain unique and intimate insight into their operations, allowing you to pinpoint and offer more accurate advice and add more specific value to their operations.

4) Remote work equals outsourced jobs

In an upshot to social distancing and remote work, you no longer have to solely hire from your own back garden.

Yes, building client relationships and finding new ways to work may be viewed as a negative repercussion of the pandemic, but talent wise, it’s a boon.

You can not only find incredible talent options from across your own country and abroad, who can effectively work from remote locations, you can also save a lot of capital in office space, hardware, insurance, and shared services.

This will also allow you to offshore a lot of ‘grunt work’ while focusing on nurturing in-house skills for advisory services and high value client-facing roles.

5) Data management will continue to reign supreme

Gaining skills in data processing, management and theory will put you in good stead as the world of big data continues to balloon.

Centralising your databases and CRMs, while focusing on simplicity and clarity when it comes to data management and access, will become even more important.

You should be consolidating disjointed systems, retiring legacy software, and creating simpler data processes.

Not only will your own processes and visibility improve, but you’ll also find that your client data becomes a great asset in terms of understanding where services are required and how the market is shifting.

It also helps you better understand individual clients so you can address their situation with clarity.

To find out more about APS software, visit www.aps-software.com.

APS is a division of Reckon, an ASX listed company. We develop the software used by the best Accounting Firms in Australia and New Zealand to run their business’ and advise their clients.