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7 accounting trends to watch (2024 edition)

1. Automated accounting processes

Accounting automation software offers many advantages, including greater accuracy and the ability to crunch large amounts of data in a short period. The software can also output data in easily readable formats, like graphs and charts. 

Automation doesn’t reduce the need for human accountants — far from it. Instead, it means that mundane, time-consuming tasks like data entry are no longer as necessary as before, freeing up time to perform more important work, like forecasting and analysis.

Takeaway: Automation stands to improve efficiency, reduce costs and give accounting teams more time to spend on value-added tasks. Using automation software can ultimately result in greater outcomes, such as stronger, more streamlined processes and enhanced data accuracy.

2. Outsourced accounting functions

With the pandemic normalising remote work, many businesses are increasingly considering outsourcing certain tasks to contractors either locally or overseas. This option may be more cost-effective than bringing on an employee.

Outsourcing accounting functions like payroll comes with a number of major advantages beyond simply saving money — it frees up capacity for business owners to focus on revenue-generating activities rather than back-office functions.

Takeaway: Outsourcing opens up opportunities for accountants and bookkeepers in their own practices. Likewise, outsourcing offers value to most types of business. Find out the Benefits of outsourcing: Why companies outsource.

3. More support for remote workforces

With cloud accounting software in widespread use, accounting might be one of the fields best suited to a remote environment. 

Remote work offers a lot of advantages: greater flexibility, a stronger work-life balance and workers are often more productive. That said, remote work isn’t without its challenges, so managers would be wise to carefully consider how they manage their remote workers.

Challenges individuals face include fragmented communication, a blurring of the lines between being at home and at work and feeling disconnected from the rest of the team. 

Takeaway: Accounting practices should start looking at how they can better support their remote workers. 

4. Greater demand for proactive accounting

Proactive accounting encompasses data analytics, forecasting and strategic planning.   Businesses are increasingly looking to their finance professionals to provide the context behind the numbers and advise on the development and implementation of business strategy.

Takeaway: Accountants are highly valued strategic advisers who need to be skilled in data analytics to deliver business insights and contribute to strategic planning and implementation. 

5. The shift to advisory services 

Automated accounting software enables practices to increase their efficiency and complete more work in less time. 

Digitally-enabled practices therefore have a competitive advantage over their counterparts that maintain legacy systems and processes. Using automated tools frees up capacity so practices can move into more lucrative advisory services. 

Advisory services to clients might include providing input on their software decisions, conducting financial analysis and forecasting, advising on strategic decisions and contributing to other big-picture thinking.

Takeaway: Accounting practices should shore up their advisory offerings (or start to develop some). These services provide real value to clients beyond helping them meet their compliance obligations and may be a lucrative revenue stream for your practice.

6. A need to re-skill and up-skill

Given the trends we’ve already discussed, it’s no surprise that finance professionals will need to stay on top of their learning and development. 

Digital technologies continue to disrupt the industry, presenting opportunities to do things better and helping accountants add greater value for their clients. 

Those who are digitally-enabled and on the front-foot with applying new technologies will be in high demand, so it’s important to be proactive and up-skill in this area. 

Takeaway: Embracing digital technologies and becoming skilled in them is important to remaining relevant in a fast-moving, ever-changing business context. 

7. More focus on data security

As the world goes increasingly digital, the need for data security amplifies. If your IT systems and client data are on-premise, then you really need to know what you’re doing from a cybersecurity perspective and keep abreast of all the latest threats. 

For many practices, moving their software to the cloud provides great peace of mind — their data is secured by their software and cloud provider with the most comprehensive and advanced security measures available. 

Takeaway: Data security is an ongoing concern across all industries. For many accounting practices, moving software online and leveraging the capabilities of the software and cloud provider for data protection is a highly successful, cost-effective strategy. 

From automation to data security, the world of accounting is constantly evolving. Savvy finance professionals will keep an eye on these trends and leverage them to grow their businesses and add further value to their clients.

If you want to take your practice to the next level, MYOB can help. Our cloud accounting software enables you to increase your efficiency so you can get more done and better service your clients.

Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is of a general nature and does not consider your personal situation. It does not constitute legal, financial, or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as a statement of law, policy or advice. You should consider whether this information is appropriate to your needs and, if necessary, seek independent advice. This information is only accurate at the time of publication. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information contained on this webpage, MYOB disclaims, to the extent permitted by law, all liability for the information contained on this webpage or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

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