2023 Predictions for Accountants

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By Stephani Fitzsimmons
Director of Content and Communications
Jan 12 2023 read
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The start of a new year is typically a time of reflection and forward thinking. 2022 brought changes and challenges to the accounting industry, ranging from tax policy modifications and new regulations to a surge in technological advancements and automation. Now, what will 2023 bring?

Although impossible to know exactly, President and CEO of the American Institute of CPAs Barry Melancon shared his thoughts during a recent committee meeting. Along with his predictions on what talent shortages and inflation will cause, he repeatedly presented a key takeaway: the pace of change in accounting is faster today than ever and only speeding up. 

Accountants of all levels should do their best to prepare, gathering their own predictions for the year and doing preemptive business planning. Accelo shares what we anticipate the industry will see in 2023.

Technology Will Elevate Or Eliminate

Advances in tech require accountants to embrace new systems and tools or risk getting left behind. Long-standing trends around cloud-based SaaS offerings and automations continue to grow. Tedious tasks around banking, payroll, auditing, tax calculation and tax preparation are being offloaded to focus on client relations and advisory roles. 

Tip: Assess your current systems and their functions and identify any overlap. Accelo offers a CRM, project management, tickets, retainer management and billing but can also integrate with many critical business applications.

READ NEXT: What accounting firms are saying about Accelo 

A human connection is still very necessary in accounting. Clients want to know there is a person managing and monitoring their livelihood and if you’re like most accountants, you prefer to focus on clients and their problem solving. Robert Half reports that 41% of finance and accounting professionals feel this way. 

Talent Shortages Continue

Accounting practices have been dealing with a shortage of qualified talent for some time now. And this will continue, causing some firms to turn to offshore outsourcing for things like bookkeeping, reporting, tax prep, etc. The challenge is finding skilled and reliable workers and accurately tracking their time. Some firms will choose the alternative route to lower-cost labor and opt to invest in talented professionals of all experience levels. 

Both have their pros and cons — spend less on wages but risk unreliable work and attempt to track their time OR pay substantially more on educated professionals who demand costly salaries, even if not the most seasoned. 

Technology can help. Accounting software automations can assist with time-consuming tasks and project management software with built-in time tracking can help manage staff. It’s critical that all employees work in the same system for accurate recordkeeping and continuity.

Data Is Crucial

To-do list: Get a better grip on client projects. Improve operational inefficiencies. Master forecasting. 

Accounting practices need to be doing all of this in the new year and the only way is through better data analytics. Accounting firms are leaning into data now more than ever. With finances getting tighter for clients and businesses, operations need to be tracked and monitored for smart decision making. 

Capturing data, especially across multiple systems, is easier said than done. And once data is consolidated, you need to interpret datasets and find actionable insights. A few things to consider:

  • Where does all your data live?
    You might not even realize every system that your team is using, so you should ask each team member to provide a list of tools and their use. 
  • Is there an opportunity to consolidate systems?
    Once you have a list of all systems, look for overlap in usage. Explore features of your most widely used systems and see if they can replace any less-used tools. 
  • How is data being properly analyzed?
    Having someone on your team analyzing data full-time can be expensive. Consider systems that offer data analytics and reporting specific to your needs. 

Clients Expect a Portal

We all access our banking and financial information via a secure portal and many expect the same from their accounting providers. Clients want to be able to check status, access records or manage billing in an instant. Having a self-service portal attached to a client management system eliminates the need to manually provide clients with status updates or track down client files. It’s also another touchpoint that you can have with your clients.

It’s most useful if you can have customizable controls on what clients can access and do via the portal. Accelo offers a client portal with their client work management products that you can white label with your own branding. A portal could be the missing link in your tech stack, but it’s important to keep software consolidation top of mind. Client portals are easiest to set up when integrated with your other client work functions in one nicely packaged platform.  

Learn what your professional services business is missing by not having a client portal

Need Grows for Forensic Accounting 

As organizations try to tighten the reigns on financial operations, businesses are being more diligent in tracking, implementing greater controls and driving a greater demand for forensic accounting. Many business leaders lack in-depth knowledge of the complex and everchanging tax laws and requirements. And they also most likely don’t have the time to be monitoring financial irregularities — leaving the business vulnerable.

Overall, fraudulent activity is on the rise with PwC reporting 51% of surveyed organizations say they experienced fraud in the past two years, the highest level in 20 years of research. Whether needing a safeguard or investigating suspicious activity, forensic accounting is an invaluable skill to have. With a looming recession, threats of layoffs and more compliance and challenges, this could be a prime opportunity for a knowledgeable accounting professional. 

Final Thoughts — Get The Right Tech Stack

Inevitably, you’ll be in a better position, more profitable and have more enjoyable client work if you use the right tech. There are so many tools and platforms available now that can make some of your biggest pain points (hello, tax season) and challenges almost obsolete. It’s worth doing a little research into what software works best for accounting, what automations exist and how feasible is it for these offerings to integrate with your critical business applications. 

Client work management platform Accelo integrates with the most popular accounting software, including QuickBooks, Xero and Gusto, and is packed with smart automations.

What do you predict for accounting in 2023? We want to know! Share your thoughts.

 

 

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About the Author

Headshot Stephani

Stephani is Director of Content and Communications at Accelo where she oversees content ideation and development. She has worked in and around B2B technology for most of her career and loves helping businesses be more productive, connected and efficient through new technologies. A veteran writer and content creator, Stephani's work has appeared in InformationWeek, Security Magazine, TechRadar and The Fast Mode.

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