The past two years have caused significant changes in virtually every industry and the accounting field is no exception. Not only has the pandemic expedited the migration from brick and mortar commerce to eCommerce, but companies are also starting to adopt innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain technology. These developments have transformed the traditional role of accountants.
In 2022, you will continue to see the accountant’s role adapt from more of a bookkeeping role to that of a data analyst and financial consultant. Companies will have to improve their flexibility and adopt advancing technologies and systems that help them retain a positive cash flow and sustainable growth.
The accounting professionals you hire must understand how to adapt their skills to respond to a rapidly changing industry. They need to be familiar with the appropriate technologies that fit your business model best and they need to understand how to perform data analysis that leads to operational efficiencies and reduced tax liabilities.
At Fully Accountable, we believe you deserve access to a full-service team of finance professionals who put your needs first. Whether you need simple solutions such as a financial controller or more advanced solutions, such as a fractional CFO, we have scalable solutions for you.
Making Flexibility a Priority
The sudden shift to working remotely has accelerated the adoption of cloud-based technologies. In 2022, this will only continue. According to the 2022 Salary Guide from Robert Half, accounting firms found that teams can complete all of their financial processes remotely just as effectively as in-house.
Accounting firms that don’t embrace the flexible or hybrid working as part of their culture risk losing the best talent. Employers offering this type of flexibility will not only boost retention. They will also access a broader pool of talent with specialized skills since they can hire from a larger sphere. In fact, three out of four companies are now recruiting outside their geographic area.
Fast-Tracked Digital Solutions
Whether it be from cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain technology, or robotic process automation, studies have shown that some accounting professionals have a 98% chance of having their jobs automated. That doesn’t mean accountants should go looking for new professions.
The fast-tracking of digital solutions in the accounting field simply means companies have more resources available to them, enabling them to focus on their core principles without worrying about bookkeeping and other mundane tasks.
The other effect that digital solutions have on accounting is that it streamlines accounting processes, which boosts companies’ bottom lines. For example, some new automation can drastically increase revenue by implementing accounting software, all without increasing staff. Accounting professionals shouldn’t be afraid of automation, they should embrace it.
Here are some examples of the new automation developments that can help improve a business’s bottom line:
- Bookkeeping automation significantly reduces the time and resources spent on tracking transactions.
- Third-party software connects with existing accounting infrastructures to allow data to flow between each, ultimately reducing data entry and errors.
- Artificial intelligence will serve as an augmentation of accountants, not as a substitute.
Taking Advantage of Automation and Digital Accounting Software
Audit your accounting processes
To take advantage of accounting software and automation, businesses must first audit their accounting processes to see where automation makes sense. Having a standardized, documented accounting system identifies where companies can improve their accounting procedures.
Unfortunately, we aren’t yet at a stage where automation can audit procedures and identify which processes need to be automated. In many ways, finding which processes to automate can be the most tedious aspect of automation. That’s where using an outsourced accounting service can be of great assistance. Having the human resources to strategize about your accounting procedures will help you separate procedures that can be automated from those that still need manual entry.
Automated accounting is more efficient when everything is seamlessly integrated into a platform. When you connect your software, data flows between your software without having to manually transfer data back and forth. This streamlines accounting functions by leveraging numerous third-party applications in a consolidated manner.
No matter what accounting team you have, they will be able to access all of your accounting information in one location. This accessibility gives them a complete picture and simplifies processes such as forecasts, financial models, dashboards, and actual vs. budget comparisons. If your accounting information is spread across multiple platforms, this type of reporting and strategizing become more difficult.
Artificial intelligence and software is making predicting the future easier than ever. As data accumulates more and more, so do the capabilities of companies trying to analyze that data. Critical aspects such as a company’s yearly cash flow analysis can be predicted with a good deal of accuracy now with the likes of new technology.
New Skills Required for Accountants
With all of the advancements in technology, accountants will no longer be able to leverage their technical skills. To stay competitive, accountants will require new skills that exceed data management.
Many accounting teams aren’t even looking for accountants with the baseline technical proficiency. They are looking for candidates who possess a more advanced set of skills. Because of this, you should look for accounting firms who clearly hire their team based on this shift. To hire your accounting team based on these types of skills adhere to the following tips.
If nothing else, your accounting team must familiarize themselves with technology. Full-service accounting teams should have experts on their team that understand accounting software inside and out so they can lead technology initiatives. It might even be a good idea for accounting teams to have a software engineer team to handle the suite of technology.
Hire Accountants With Soft Skills
Your accountant should be considered an advisor, not a numbers cruncher. There are two soft skills that firms should prioritize in their process. The first is their ability to solve problems. In the business world, adaptability is paramount.
Creativity is not typically something people associate with financial professionals, but the accountant of the future must possess creativity if they plan on succeeding in this new environment. Creative problem solving skills are applicable to data analysis and leverage and they will ultimately protect acconutants from their jobs becoming obsolete due to software and AI.
Communication is another soft skill not typically associated with accountants. The stigma surrounding accountants is that they lack enthusiasm and flare. However, as the accounting profession evolves, accountants will likely have to take complex initiatives and communicate them to C-level executives in simple, direct terms.
Communication is one of the core skills an accountant can possess and it shows a high-level of customer service, which is critical for advising clients. In an increasingly digital world, people have less and less exposure to each other, but clear communication remains as one of the most important determinants of success. Those who can communicate well and write well are highly valuable.
Technologies are automating many of the tasks that accountants used to manually complete. However, these technologies, their methods of automation, and the reasoning behind the automation all require explanation. Accountants should be able to articulate exactly what each piece of technology accomplishes and why it is necessary to implement into the accounting structure.
Changing Business Models In Accounting
There are two innovative business models emerging in the accounting industry. The first is the marketplace platform model, a model in which suppliers and consumers can directly relate back and forth and connect with the professionals who match their preferences.
The other newly emerging business model is the “do it yourself model” that very small businesses and eCommerce companies can implement while they are just beginning. There are numerous online resources that make this an attractive model for any solopreneurs or small business owners who are just getting started and might not have the capital to spend on an outsourced or in-house accounting team.
Business owners who learn how to conduct their accounting affairs in the beginning will also be much better suited to choose their accounting model down the road, once they have enough capital to procure a dedicated accounting department. In the short-term, however, business owners should seriously consider cultivating their own skills to ensure they can make an educated decision regarding their accounting department when the time comes.
Scalable Client Accounting Services
Reputable outsourced accounting services will be able to scale their services to specifically address their clients’ needs. Part of the scalability of an outsourced accounting service comes down to the client discovery phase.
Digital accountants should be able to derive exactly what you need during the introductory phase, learning about processes in as much detail as possible, and deriving a comprehensive solution based on those details.
Clients should leave the introductory phase feeling like they have a concrete understanding of how the accounting organization plans to provide value. Your prospective accounting service should understand your business’s structure and accounting needs before you make your final decision.
Responding to Changing Client Expectations
Clients are looking for a full-service approach to their accounting needs. Yes, compliance is still important, but in 2022, more businesses are looking for an advisory role in their accounting department.
Customers are also looking for a company who can migrate their archival process to the cloud so they don’t have physical copies of records.
What Are the Most Sought-After Positions In 2022?
As a silver lining to the pandemic, more technologies have been adopted in the accounting industry, making it easier for companies to scale their services and increasing the demand for the following positions and skill sets:
Compliance: as eCommerce continues to introduce regulatory changes and complexity, compliance professionals who understand the adapting needs of emerging companies will be in high demand.
Digital security: Accounting professionals should be familiar with digital security as more and more businesses navigate their finances into a digital archive. Accounting professionals should also prepare for the future with technologies such as blockchain.
Tax: in an increasingly complex sales tax nexus, accounting professionals who provide value by optimizing businesses tax plan instead of just offering compliance will be highly sought-after by accounting firms.
Conclusion- What’s New In Accounting for 2022?
2022 will be a year of great change for the accounting industry in very much the same ways as it has been for other industries. The pandemic has continued an already-present shift to a world more deeply rooted in digital commerce.
However, despite the migration towards automation and advanced technology, accountants are conversely having to sharpen their communication and problem solving skills. Hence, the more digitized our world becomes, the more demand there is for professionals with people skills.
In 2022, accounting firms must be able implement a full-suite of accounting software into their clients’ infrastructures while serving in an advisory role. be able to identify and communicate any directives that will help businesses achieve sustainable growth.
Contact us today to learn what Fully Accountable can do for you.