9 Trends Shaping the Future of Accounting in 2023

Last Updated:
March 20, 2023
Kay Nicole

9 Trends Shaping the Future of Accounting in 2023

The traditional practice of accounting is undergoing constant modernization following today's rapidly evolving digital society. The once paper-bound bookkeeping industry has undergone a significant transformation with the advent of automation and digital technology, significantly enhancing the speed and precision of routine operations.  This is the future of accounting.

According to research conducted by Sage, technology literacy is deemed the most crucial supplementary skill for future employees in the field. The catalyst to adopt modern technology implies that numerous organizations must all acknowledge the need for change and proactively plan for the future. Some of the prominent accounting trends are as follows.

1. Online Learning

Online accounting courses are becoming popular due to technological advancements. Online learning has the potential to revolutionize the accounting industry in several ways. For one, it will create a more diverse and global workforce, as individuals worldwide can obtain the training and education they need to enter the field. Additionally, online learning will likely lead to the development of new technologies and software tools that can automate most of the repetitive tasks that accountants currently perform, freeing up time and resources for higher-level analysis and decision-making.

Online courses offer flexibility and convenience, which suits working professionals since course options can be customized based on individual needs and goals. They are accessible globally and offered by leading institutions. Online courses are also more cost-effective than traditional in-person classes. As technology evolves, online courses are expected to gain more significance in the accounting industry.

Given these reasons, the Online MACC Program is becoming more prevalent, allowing students to obtain an advanced degree in accounting entirely online. These programs are designed to provide a comprehensive education in accounting principles and practices, preparing students for leadership roles in the field.

2. The Cloud and Accounting Services

The integration of cloud technology and accounting services has become indispensable for most businesses. Cloud-hosted accounting systems have facilitated easy access to digitally hosted systems anywhere and at any time. The advantages of embracing cloud technology are numerous and have been acknowledged by accounting professionals, who recognize cloud-based software as an essential resource.

According to a report published by Accounting Today, a significant number of organizations, 58% to be exact, have recognized and embraced the advantages of transitioning to cloud-based accounting systems. This statistic underscores the pivotal role that cloud technology plays in accounting streams.

3. Big Data

Big data has emerged as a preferred and powerful tool for CFOs, financial experts, and accountants in accomplishing critical financial tasks. This technology is essential in transforming vital internal data sets into dynamic, secure data analysis and has consistently aided in generating actionable insights from those data sets. 

With this technology's gradual yet constant advancement in the finance industry, the probability of big data becoming even more proactive is driving future accounting trends.

4. Data Analytics and Forecasting Tools

Utilizing budgeting, forecasting, and planning software, along with data analytics and visualization tools, is among the most impactful accounting tips for both small businesses and larger companies. 

Finance functions are increasingly becoming more analytical, and technology is driving the accounting and finance department from a reactionary and transactional approach to a proactive and analytical one. 

5. Blockchain

Blockchain is a relatively new technology with the potential to revolutionize the industry. The primary function of blockchain is to maintain a ledger of financial information and transfer asset ownership securely, accurately, and traceably. 

Blockchain technology makes it nearly impossible to tamper with transactions through unauthorized or prohibited means, providing a sense of security and confidence to accounting teams and beyond. With benefits such as increased speed, transparency, data security, and auditing standardization, it is not surprising that 88% of senior executives anticipate that blockchain technology will ultimately achieve mainstream adoption.

6. Artificial Intelligence

Accountants and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) concur that artificial intelligence (AI) software is a new technology that will significantly impact the accounting industry and the future of accounting.

Up to 47% of CIOs believe COVID-19 has accelerated the speed of digital transformation and increased the adoption of new technologies such as AI, machine learning, blockchain, and automation. Since AI operates primarily on data, businesses must obtain accurate, high-quality data to gain reliable business insights and a competitive edge over their rivals.

7. Data Security

Data breaches are a growing concern for organizations in today's digital age, and financial departments are prime targets. Such breaches can result in identity theft, personal data and credit card information theft, and spoofing, whereby an email is disguised to appear as if it came from a known and trusted source.

According to statistics, the United States experiences the highest number of data breaches, with 212.4 million users affected in 2021, compared to 174.4 million in 2020. Given their expertise in identifying anomalies and attention to detail, accounting teams are crucial in identifying suspicious emails and preventing attacks. Training them in this area is essential - enabling them to become cybersecurity champions within the organization and emphasizing the importance of data security.

8. Proactive Accounting

The concept of Proactive Accounting involves the use of machine learning and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to transform traditional accounting practices. The approach is known as continuous accounting and involves integrating tasks typically performed at the end of a period into daily activities through automation and other technologies. 

This approach's benefits extend beyond the workload reduction for the accounting team, including enhanced data accuracy and efficiency. As a result, the team can focus on ongoing improvements by monitoring and optimizing processes. This approach offers significant potential for increasing productivity and quality in accounting operations.

9. Outsourcing Accounting Services

Outsourcing accounting services is part of the future of accounting and can offer several advantages for organizations. Small companies can avoid increasing headcount and costs by hiring an external firm that provides access to skilled personnel with specialized knowledge. Otherwise, they would need to spend time and resources internally replicating this expertise.

For larger enterprises, outsourcing account payable processing to external vendors can be cost-effective compared to building infrastructure in-house. This approach also provides greater flexibility when exploring new technologies, as some reputable vendors may already exist in the market.

Wrapping Up

The accounting industry is evolving rapidly due to technology. Digital accounting, online learning, and cloud-based systems are increasing in popularity. The industry and future of accounting is moving towards a proactive and analytical approach with the help of big data, data analytics, and visualization tools. Artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, and data security are significant focuses. The industry must plan for the future and adapt to changing needs to stay relevant. Companies must invest in the latest technologies to remain competitive, and accounting professionals must be prepared to update their skills. With these tools, the industry can create more efficient processes and provide better customer service.

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