As recruiters, part of our job is making sure we’re proficient in knowing the trends of the industries in which we operate. Being familiar with these trends, whether you’re in or entering the workforce, can be extremely valuable. Keeping your ear to the ground will allow you to keep your accounting firm ahead of the trends, or demonstrate proficiency as a potential hire. There are multiple influencing factors in 2016, and we’ll start by looking at the most impactful: technology.

Technology

At this point, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t either begun using cloud accounting software, or has at least started to consider using it. This technology completely opens up the flow of information, and the process will only continue to automate. This means many roles in accounting may begin to shift a percentage of their focus from ‘number cruncher’ to an advisory role.

Server RoomThe continued automation of processing data will free up time for accountants, and allow them to expand their role in the organization, or perhaps play a more direct role in client relations as the norm shifts from formal to informal. Optical character recognition may also foretell the end of manually entering receipts as it is able to scan and translate them into digital text. Automation is also not limited to just processing software, as the IRS has finally begun to make some headway in terms of streamlining their notifications, which means clients will likely be looking for more direction when they receive the flurry of paperwork. Lastly, more firms are expected to have a presence on social media, to make a positive impact on potential clients, and the ability to back it up with knowledgeable blogs, or research.

Economy

With the economy returning from the recession, big changes in attitude can be seen across the board. Large companies are looking to expand even further, with many companies at least considering if not following through on mergers. This means there will be a wealth of work with acquisitions, but not all of the shifts are with big companies. The renewal of economic strength has made potential start ups who may have reconsidered in a bad economy finally take the plunge. This will mean accountants can expect expanding work options in small to mid-size companies, as many entrepreneurs decide to put their world changing ideas to the test on the open market.

Expectations

With the wave of influential technology sweeping through the industry, it brings about a certain expectation. Accountants will now be able to rely more on technology for the heavy lifting, and because of this, clients now expect that time to be spent becoming an industry aficionado. What this means is clients will begin to prefer accounting firms and individual accountants who are more familiar within the industries they operate who can anticipate trends and apply their knowledge in the form of client feedback.

Employees Talking in Background of DeskThere is also a large push by many clients to be offered fixed prices by their firms. Clients want to know what to expect, and feel like a relationship is being built with a firm, and part of that is knowing what to expect in terms of price. This has been desired by clients for years, and it won’t be stopping anytime soon, so perhaps your firm should consider offering a baseline on prices for their services.

These are only a few trends that have been appearing in the industry of accounting. If you have any thoughts on anything discussed here, or wanted to mention something important you think we may have missed, leave us a comment!