Accounting trends to watch in 2019

Put down the champagne, it’s time to get back to work.

A new year means new trends and challenges for accountants and bookkeepers alike. It’s a lot to keep track of, especially with tax season fast approaching. I know, it seems so far away. But between packing up the holiday decorations and helping a client here and there, you’ll find yourself 3 months into 2019 before you can blink.

Thankfully, you don’t need to spend too much time researching this year’s exciting and innovative accounting trends. It’s easy to get caught up in work. But as important as pleasing your clients is to running your business, keeping tabs on developments in your field maybe even moreso.

Automation and expectations

Manual input and double or triple entry have historically bogged-down accounting and bookkeeping professionals alike. As expected, many innovations and recent strides in the field have revolved around automation.

In a perfect world, automating once time-consuming and monotonous tasks frees-up time for accountants to better run their own firms and businesses. It also means more time to focus on clients’ needs and, ideally, cutting down on potential errors. However, implementing automation technologies must come with a shift in expectations.

The perception is that everything will be done faster, because everything will be automated. This is simply not true.

The same tasks that once took weeks or a month to complete have been drastically cut down, so client expectations are sure to change. The perception is that everything will be done faster, because everything will be automated. This is simply not true.

Depending on what services you’re offering certain clients, delivery times for services may not change at all. It’s important to convey reasonable expectations and timelines on the services your business can offer. This way clients aren’t disappointed, and you don’t look like a slacker.

Blockchain

Speaking of automation.

Blockchain technology is looking to revolutionize the way we understand asset transfer, trust, and globalization. We’ve talked a lot about blockchain over the years, and even a bit about how it affects accountants. But, with 2019 roaring on and uses of blockchain technology flooding many markets and fields, it’s important we don’t forget it.

Distributed ledger technology is currently being used in many areas but has is most prominent in cryptocurrency exchange. The idea is that blockchain removes the need for the centralized housing of currency, therefore cutting down on the potential for intrusion by hackers, thieves, and insider meddling.

2019 won’t be the year that banks disappear.

While we’re a long way off from the world’s currencies all running on blockchain technology, we may be heading there, and keeping your eyes open to changes in the industry is vital to stay ahead of the curve.

Banks and other legacy financial institutions have faced many scandals, and have upset many clients, especially in the last few decades. As representatives of the currently centralized and fragile global financial system, we may see these institutions change their structures drastically, if not fall away altogether.

2019 won’t be the year that banks disappear.

However, it will surely continue on our path toward innovation and change in an otherwise stagnant field.

Advising, consulting

With automation’s many benefits have come its own distinct challenges. High speeds and low error-rates have all but made manual entry obsolete. As we know, these tasks were what mainly filled up an accountants day, and service offerings.

With those out of the way, accountants have both more free time, and a more difficult time charging by the hour. So, many professionals are beginning to consult and advise their clients on other financial matters.

Accountants can finally use their humanity to make sense of business finances, instead of being the human calculators they were once thought to be.

Accounting firms offer such services as “virtual CFOs” to give small businesses the opportunity to run their finances like the big guys do. A virtual CFO essentially acts as an in-house Chief Financial Officer, while working for your preferred accounting firm. They give advice, direction, and information about business’ financial state that they would’ve never known otherwise.

As technology takes even further leaps in 2019, it’s easy to assume that one day robots and automation will rule the Earth. But they can’t know the struggles of balancing a business and family life, or the importance and financial consequences of taking some time off. The human element of accounting and bookkeeping, while seemingly dwindling, is just getting a rebrand.

Now, accountants can finally use their humanity to make sense of business finances, instead of being the human calculators they were once thought to be.

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