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More current and future trends for accounting firms- large and small

November 19, 2014 by Ed Becker

In this segment we will discuss current and future trends that will affect accounting firms and small business accounting companies. In order to stay competitive and keep up with your clients, your company has to continually stay on top of new trends and important changes in the same way you have to stay on top of new accounting and tax laws. If you do not, your clients will outgrow your services.

New Careers in the accounting world

Historically, there have been two career paths in accounting: you either went to a public firm hoping to become a partner someday (if you did then you stayed with that firm until you retired). The other option was to go into an industry where you worked for a company as a staff accountant. These days staff, and even partners, jump between public practice and industry firms, looking for more money, excitement and/or status.
There are also many niches now in accounting that some people choose to specialize in without a firm or a small business. Freelance accountants and consultants are also becoming more commonplace.

The Cloud

File storage has always been an issue in offices and firms. But the costs of maintaining records for the legal amount of time required has become quite pricey. In comes cloud technology and storage. It is cost effective and efficient. Anyone with the proper credentials can access the information from anywhere.
Security is the big issue with cloud technology, you want to ensure that you vet your cloud provider and their IT security measures. You also want a provider that has a good reputation and track record for stability. Server downtime can cost you an account.

Personal Devices

Tablets are becoming much more useful for staff and partners that are on the go. Being able to have access to information at any time is very efficient, this ties in with using cloud technology as well. If a client has an emergency, you can access their information and records from anywhere at any time. This is such a viable option that many large firms are providing tablets for their entire staff.

Bring Your Own Device

Firms that are not in a position to offer devices to their entire staff may allow them to use their personal devices for work. Many people already carry their own devices and want to use them rather than a company provided device anyway. In these cases, your IT department has to be up to speed on security for all devices.

IRS Automation

IRS has a less than great reputation for technology and a high rate of glitches. But recently they are doing much more automation that is working, from e-filing all the way to investigation and notice processes. This means that audits and issues will be addressed more by mail and may scare some clients.

The downside to this is the future technology and automation may cause people to do more themselves in regards to the IRS and tax issues. You will not be able to charge clients for technology that is free to them.

Keeping up with changes, issues and trends as business grows will allow you to be flexible and continue to offer your clients services that are useful and worthwhile. If you do not take the time to stay abreast of trends, you could lose out.

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