Article by Sara Sabin, Founder of ProCircle
The debate rages on about the future of the accounting industry.
Will there be an accounting industry at all in 20 years, as Artificial Intelligence becomes more advanced?
Will accounting professionals go the way of the dinosaurs?
Instead of accountants seeing technology as a threat to their existence, they can harness the power of new technology to attract and retain the best people. Ensuring the bright future of the accounting profession.
What is the future?
It lies in The Cloud
The Cloud is accounting practices’ new best friend to engage their workforce.
A cloud-based system enables an employee to work from anywhere.
Already, flexible and remote working is becoming widespread in certain fields, such as technology, marketing, and business development.
It is also starting to trickle down into the world of accountancy – I know of accountants working in industry for listed companies, who work from home 1 – 2 days a week. In general, offering that as part of someone’s package is a huge incentive.
What about fully remote roles?
Medium-sized accounting practice
I came across a recent job ad for an accountancy firm in Somerset. Note THE major selling point is that this kind of opportunity does not come up every day.
Fully remote accounting jobs are still not the ‘norm’ but I believe that, in the future, it will enter the mainstream. Not least because in the fight for the best talent, professionals will come to expect it as part of their package.
Many accountants have expressed to me how much they would value the freedom afforded to them by remote working.
Big 4 accounting firm (KPMG)
To provide attractive packages to their employees, KPMG offers a host of flexible working options, including tele-commuting jobs. A fact they freely advertise on their website.
They have also identified an area of accounting where remote working fits in particularly well for them – tax compliance. The seasonality of tax compliance means that there are always peaks and troughs in client demand and they felt that they needed to take a more agile approach, called ‘Intelligent Working’.
“Longer hours are required to be worked at peak times and time is taken off during periods of lower demand – while staff continue to receive a regular monthly income. This enabled KPMG to better utilise its workforce and enhance efficiency, while also providing an attractive proposition for employees. KPMG also considered this offering alongside home working roles, as certain activities were particularly well tailored to remote working”
The initiative has proved to be a success. Resulting in happier clients and more engaged employees.
As cloud technology continues to improve and spread to more areas of accounting, more firms will adopt it. Once they do, smaller firms will be able to take a similarly agile approach to work patterns.
Where one of the Big 4 firms validates a trend, the rest will follow.
The millennial generation
Recently qualified accountants in their 20’s moving through the ranks are less interested in hierarchical, stuffy office structures. Old fashioned is out. They are tech savvy, have different priorities and want to progress faster than ever before.
The other benefit of cloud technology is the automation of more menial accounting and audit processes. Apart from increasing profitability – as focus will shift more towards the higher margin advisory work, it will also keep the rising stars of the accounting world challenged and engaged.
With cloud-based technology, accounting firms can attract millennials and stop them moving on to greener pastures.
The Cloud is here to stay. Embrace the change.
This article was written by Sara Sabin a futurist in the recruitment space for Cloud Accountants. You can learn more about Sara here.