Global Bookkeeping Week


20th November, 2019

Global Bookkeeping Week 2019: 5 key trends for business advisors

As Global Bookkeeping Week comes to an end for 2019, we take a look at some of the trends that will be shaping the profession in 2020 and beyond.

Bookkeepers have been an integral part of the business landscape for decades. And, as compliance legislation and business tech becomes more complex, they’re more important than ever before.

This week, businesses around the world are celebrating the amazing work these professionals do with Global Bookkeeping Week, including us at MYOB.

In order to properly recognise the good work being done by bookkeepers the world over, and especially in Australia and New Zealand, we’re sharing some insights on trends that are likely to influence this space in 2020 and beyond.

Introducing Radar Report 2019

First announced at MYOB Partner Connect 2019, the new Radar Report offers a sneak peek at the future of six key industries as a way of helping businesses in those industries (and their trusted advisors) set a course towards ongoing success.

In the report, futurists Steve Sammartino and Tommy McCubbin of Future Sandwich present insights and expert commentary across a series of report segments and industry-specific videos.

“We began by asking 800 bookkeepers and accountants a series of questions, including ‘Which industries do your clients operate in?’” McCubbin told the crowd at Partner Connect.

This data sets the direction for the report, which is divided by industry vertical: Transport, Retail, Hospitality, Trades, Services and Manufacturing.

“We did a video series as well – we spoke with industry leaders from each of those six industries so that you can take that content and sit with your clients and have discussions that go beyond their current finances,” he said.

As the third edition of the Radar Report, this iteration builds on our 2018 edition, which focused more specifically on how cultural and technological advancements will influence the work bookkeepers do. The following is a summary of the six key trends we see bookkeepers facing today and into the future.

1. Ambient computing and augmentation

Ambient technology is appearing all around us in the form of sensors, cameras and other internet-connected devices. They don’t require much manual input, instead these technologies carry out tasks based on more passive inputs.

The first iterations in home ‘Assistant’ have arrived. Amazon, Apple and Google all have products begging the smart home/office revolution. Just as a centralised power generator controls building temperatures, we’ll have a centralised cloud brain for our smart homes and offices.

But what does all this mean for bookkeepers? These technologies will increase the potential for advisory work as bookkeepers discover the benefits ambient computing brings to business and share them with clients. Compliance and transaction processing will simultaneously become more automated, leaving more time to focus on discovering business errors and inefficiencies.

2. The evolution of human movement through transport tech

The transport sector continues to evolve apace with the dawn of driverless cars, drone deliveries and more seemingly on the horizon.

For small business owners, the humble car may soon become a fully-automated office and entertainment suite, so that time spent in transit is no longer downtime.

Unless you’re an advisor operating in the logistics space, these changes may not immediately impact you, but opportunities will soon arise as the technologies begin to appear. Keep in mind, current tax systems are often based on the traditional versions of transport systems, and new legislation will be required to meet future needs.

Watch this space and you’ll soon see opportunities for growth.

3. Algo-society? Business intelligence is coming of age

As computing power grows exponentially, programs can be written to organise enormous amounts of data, and are even now making decision on our behalf.

Ever wondered how Spotify knows which song to recommend? Before you know it, these types of tools will be used to predict a business’s seasonal energy use, supply needs and much, much more.

When it comes to bookkeeping in the age of algorithms, things couldn’t be any more exciting. Bookkeepers are in many ways the gatekeepers of business-critical operational data. If you’re assisting your clients in keeping the most accurate and real-time view on their data, you’ll benefit from being able to offer them the quickest and most useful insights with the aid of business intelligence tools (such as MYOB Advisor)

4. The workforce of the future: Freelance and flexible

In 2018, freelancers accounted for over a third of the entire workforce and those numbers have continued to swell throughout 2019.

Beyond this, businesses are increasingly seeking to offer flexible working options, including four-day work weeks or remote working scenarios.

This trend is a goldmine for bookkeepers with an in-depth knowledge of payroll compliance, who are uniquely placed to help their clients navigate an increasingly complex workforce environment.

5. Security concerns continue to grow

As more technology is embedded into our daily lives, there is an increasing amount of data being collected on all of us by private and government organisations alike.

Not only does this raise privacy concerns, but it raises legitimate security concerns should that data fall into the wrong hands.

As a result, digital fraud and other forms of cyber attack are on the rise. Not only does this make business owners directly vulnerable, it also makes them indirectly vulnerable via their customers and clients. If they’re not doing the right thing to protect customer data, they may well find themselves liable when things go wrong.

Bookkeepers with a strong grasp of cyber security can offer a huge amount of value here, so it stands to reason that this is an area in which many bookkeepers will be seeking to upskill.

Whether you’re a bookkeeper or the client of one, Global Bookkeeping Week is the perfect time to reflect on the great work you’ve accomplished together, as well as look forward to what tomorrow may bring.