Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Top 5 Trends Shaping Accounting’s Future

What trends will have the biggest impact on accounting firms and their clients over the next five years? How well-prepared are accountants to take advantage of these trends? These two questions were the focus of a new report released on Monday by Wolters Kluwer, CCH, a global provider of tax, accounting, and audit information, software, and services.
Close to 500 accounting professionals who specialize in tax, audit CFO/consulting, and other financial services at CPA-led firms with as little as two to more than 500 employees were polled in August for the 2014 Wolters Kluwer, CCH Preparedness Survey.
Key results of the survey were presented by Wolters Kluwer, CCH President and CEO Teresa Mackintosh during her keynote address on Monday morning at the CCH Connections User Conference 2014 in Orlando.
“There are ample opportunities for all accounting firms to boost productivity and profitability, but what’s critical is knowing where those opportunities exist and how to leverage them to improve client satisfaction,” she said. “The combination of understanding these survey results along with listening to industry peers describe how they capitalize on key trends to succeed can be highly influential in charting a course of future business growth.”
The report reveals that the most significant outcome of well-prepared firms isn’t just a high overall level of confidence, but results. In addition to reporting being more productive and more profitable, “very prepared” firms strongly believe that technology is the key to managing change and driving better business results, according to Wolters Kluwer, CCH.
However, the survey found that only 18 percent of accounting firms say they are “very prepared” to take advantage of the top five trends Wolters Kluwer, CCH identified as having the most significant impact on the future of the profession. Eighty-two percent of firms are “less prepared.”
According to the report, the five top trends facing the profession are:

1. Increased focus on client service: Providing enhanced customer service, leveraging technology to automate processes and free up staff, while providing more personalized and strategic advice and counsel to clients.

Client service has progressed from the traditional one-on-one, face-to-face connections of the past to a continuous loop of client engagement opportunities. The connections between a firm and its clients have shifted from infrequent and deep to ever-present and open-ended.
“Agility trumps ability,” Doug Sleeter, founder and CEO of The Sleeter Group Inc., said in the report. “The pace of change is faster than ever, and accountants who focus more on agility than on raw ability will thrive in the coming years.”
According to the survey results, eight in 10 “very prepared” firms say that placing an increased focus on client service will have a huge impact on the future of their business. Also, when asked to rate the importance of technology across a variety of functions essential to accounting firms over the next five years, 76 percent of those who feel they are “very prepared” said technology will have a major impact on their ability to provide service, support, and added value, as well as to retain existing clients....

To read full article, click here.
Source: Jason Bramwell (

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