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What makes a future-ready accountancy firm?

In the world of accounting, “future” hasn’t always been regularly used, but what makes a firm future-ready is something that for the past four years Intuit has recognised in its network of accounting practices.

This year’s Firm of the Future winner Cloud Bookkeeping Services does bear some similarities to the previous year’s winner AIS Solutions, not only in that they are both Canadian, but they are both dedicated to educating other bookkeepers to be more future-ready, and small businesses to be better.

“The educational component to what we do is the biggest deal to us,” said Cloud Bookkeeping founder Tanya Hilts, referring to the firm’s Bookkeepers Bootcamp and Business Bootcamp. “We are teaching other bookkeepers about value pricing, workflow, technology and advisory work. With Business Bootcamp it’s coaching, we dig in with them to show how to work better and to implement plans.”

Hilts’ firm has evolved over its 20-year history, the last nine of which have been focused on bookkeeping and advisory services. With only three full-time staff, this Barrie, Ontario firm currently serves nearly 40 clients, down from nearly 100 over a year ago. In that time, Hilts said revenue has actually increased from £115,000 to £150,000.

“Essentially, we scaled back our client base so we could do more for the right ones,” she said. “We can charge more because we do more.”

Hilts also believes her small firm’s new status as a Firm of the Future is not something they were striving for, but that it is more of a recognition of how they’ve evolved and the services they provide versus just embracing technology. Her firm has been using QBO since 2012 and Hilts admits there were some initial challenges simply because it was not the desktop product.

But networking and connecting with other bookkeepers and ProAdvisors, as well as the evolution of the product itself, made everything easier. It also was the impetus for creating the Bookkeeper Bootcamp, which she feels ultimately pushed her firm into the running to be a Firm of the Future.

“People need an example of what “change” looks like, that’s what Firm of the Future is about,” said Ariege Misherghi, Intuit’s new accountant segment leader. “Emerging as advisor and being more welcoming of technology is what we tend to look at.”

7 facts that are interesting to know about the future of accounting

Accounting, much like any industry, has seen its fair share of changes. It has proven to be a very challenging one too, but if you have a knack and drive for it then it might just turn out to be a really lucrative one.

People who are already in accounting or are planning to jump into it as a career, often think about the future of the industry and what will happen to it with the rapid technological development and automation being rolled. To answer that question and more, here are 7 interesting facts about the future of accounting.

1. You will not lose your job to technology

Yes, while we all harbour a small fear that we might just have to give up our work desk to a shiny robot, it is highly unlikely that an accountant will be replaced by a robot. However, with the advancements being made in artificial intelligence and enterprise resource software, you will be at the helm while the technology helps you do a better job.

2. The industry will keep thriving

With every day that passes entrepreneurship becomes increasingly popular which makes way for more and more start-ups to surface and eventually grow into companies. These very companies then seek out services in administrative procedures as well as financial ones which means accounting will never go out of business. Now is a time as good as any to be an accountant.

3. The more you are qualified the more you will grow

If you manage to get a master’s degree in accounting then you can rest assured that you will experience a career with a lot of room for salary growth. The extra time and money that you will invest in getting yourself a master’s degree will pay off twofold for you and more. So, take pass your official CPA exam as soon as you can and venture beyond that.

4. Having a specialty is sought out

It is true that hybrid careers have become the most sought-after ones such as people who have a degree in engineering as well as law or candidates who have a degree in finance and law as well. For accounting, however, if you can find yourself a niche and become an expert in it then you will be able to stick around in the industry for the long run. Try to take as many relevant courses as you can to grow your expertise.

5. International opportunities are abundant

With companies branching out and exploring new waters overseas, they send their delegates to form fronts and setups abroad. The core teams that go along include accountants so that they can cater to the corporation or enterprise away from home and it keeps it running as efficiently as they can.

6. There will always be opportunities in teaching

As future accountants enrol themselves for education in this domain, they will seek out business and finance schools to enable and provide them with the knowledge and the tools that they need. This is will be a cycle that will continue to go forever so you can try your hand in the field and in the classroom as well. Both experiences will benefit from the other.

7. Implications for Research

Accounting firms are conducting researches on the side as well to see the feasibility of new and upcoming technologies and the new kinds of frauds that come with those. Therefore, accountants with knowledge of digital technologies will help front the research endeavours which the entire industry will benefit from.