Just like any other industry in today’s changing business landscape, the world of accounting has its own trends, changes, and upheavals that it goes through. Changes in the marketplace, changes in how business is done, and even changes in how accountants need to interact with clients
Whether you’re a sole practitioner, part of a firm, or part of a company at large, if you’re in the accounting biz and you want to get out ahead of these trends, we’ve got some tips here on the five biggest trends in accounting and what you can do to keep up:
Virtual Environments: Particularly in the case of smaller businesses (or the ever-present “start-ups”), more and more companies are turning to virtual accounting due to the lower price and offsite convenience they offer as opposed to larger firms or in-house work. If you’re a freelance accountant looking to get your foot in the door, learn how to use and manage cloud accounting services as soon as you can – the cost and convenience you offer could get you more clients than you might think.
Social Monitoring: Sure, at this point we all know we need to be active on social media in the world of business, but you can use social media to provide value to your clients as well as promote your own brand. Follow your clients’ tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, and whatever other digital content they offer to get a better idea of where their head is at. These posts can give you insight into what they’re thinking, what they’re worried about, and where they plan on heading next. And it’s never a bad idea to keep an eye on your competition, either.
Secure Communication: Keeping sensitive client information away from prying eyes has always been a priority for accountants, but we’re a long way away from the days of shredding faxes and using “confidential” stamps on your outgoing mail. Whether you’re part of a larger organization or you work on your own, make sure to keep up on the latest developments in text, email, and document security whether it’s enterprise-level portal technology, personal email encryption, or anything in between.
Think Globally: Thanks to the internet, larger supply chains, and more sophisticated means of transportation, it’s become much easier than ever before to do business internationally. What this means for you is that even the smallest company can have global ties, and these companies can easily become your clients. If your clients suddenly have questions about Chinese tax law, you’re going to want to have an answer – or they’re going to find someone else that does.
New Career Paths: For a long time, accountants had one of two career paths: stay with a firm until you make partner, or stay with a company until you retired. These days, though, careers are much more flexible and malleable, allowing staff and even partners to jump from firm to firm to pursue more money, more autonomy, or whatever new professional goal catches their eye. Always remember to be flexible – if you don’t like where you are, you have options.