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Staying Ahead of Change

6/28/2019 - By Caroline Y. Beasley, CPA

Organizations thrive on the transformative nature of technology. Digitization has provided so many opportunities to facilitate growth throughout the business world, but why do we sometimes resist this revolutionary environment that presents endless possibilities of improvement and sustainability? The future of the accounting profession is change; a change in technology, accessibility, labor force, and leadership. But how can accounting professionals provide excellent service while the rules of the game keep changing? This is the quintessential challenge in today's accounting industry.

Technological advances are probably the biggest driving force of modernization for all professionals, not just those in the financial services market. A surge in automation, the expansion of artificial intelligence, and the implementation of blockchain technology will inevitably be incorporated into daily practice. These advancements will transform the way accounting services are performed and will increase efficiencies at both the firm and client levels. A leader who is focused on embracing and adapting to the evolving world of tech within a company will be able to provide their clientele with increased efficiency and excellent service. 

Data security complications are one of the disadvantages of a digital climate and should be addressed by industry leaders with the utmost importance. In 2018 alone there were 21 data breaches reported by global companies such as Marriott, Facebook, and Under Armour. These enterprises were victims of hacking or unauthorized access from external users due to poor security measures in place. Billions of records were subject to exposure, putting both the companies and their customers at risk. The attempts to access this type of data will never cease to exist, but leaders who stay vigilant and spearhead the prevention efforts are key in avoiding losses. This will reinforce a foundation of trust and security within their practice.

The mixture of generations in the present-day workforce might just be the most labor-intensive obstacle any leader in the accounting industry will have to face. As the managerial pool of Baby Boomers comes into retirement age, the Millennial workforce will take its place, occupying almost one half of the entire workforce population by 2020. This shift in demographics is another huge opportunity for leaders to capitalize on and use to their advantage. If they can forge the gap between these two generational mindsets, together they will be able to provide the industry with a fresh perspective on traditional services and standards.

The accounting industry needs leaders who will be constantly looking for ways to help businesses thrive in an evolving climate. Enhancing interpersonal skills and developing meaningful relationships with clients will assist in placing more value on the services provided by accounting professionals. By staying at the leading edge of technology, providing innovative solutions to clients, employing new ways to motivate multi-generational employees, and embracing the inevitable changes on the horizon, accounting professionals who are true leaders will leverage their most valued asset, their team, to collaborate together on adapting traditional services to fit the future landscape of the industry.

About the Author | Caroline Beasley
Caroline is a Senior in the Tax & Accounting Services Department of Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund. She began her career in public accounting in 2010. Prior to joining Saltmarsh in July 2016, Caroline worked with an international firm performing a variety of tax and accounting functions for corporations and partnerships. Connect with Caroline.

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