As you can imagine, 2021 will be another year that presents new and unknown challenges for industries around the world. For most, that will mean adapting to new ways of working with the use of cloud technology. For those in the accounting industry who are already well up to speed with the capabilities of the cloud, it means continuing to push the boundaries with newer technology. Also, with an increase in machine learning and AI the future of accounting is going to be very interesting indeed.

Cloud-technology is here to stay

As studies already suggest, accountants across the UK understand that cloud technology is now a firm part of the future of the industry. Most recently, Sage revealed that 53% of accounting firms have embraced cloud technologies across the globe. For most of that 53%, it meant enhanced project management functions and improved organisational communication across operations.

And there’s no looking back for automation either

Pandemic or not, nearly half of all accountants in 2020 had most routine, rule-based tasks automated well before the end of the year. 89% of that same target group said it’s a more efficient use of their time, as well as a response to the increasing demand of clients. As with most things in the modern world, the demand for immediate results is high. Automation allows accountants to sort through data faster than ever before.

AAT’s (Association of Accounting Technicians) Chief Executive Mark Farrar believes that “technology is taking us on an exciting journey and accountants are already feeling the benefit of these changes. Roles are becoming more strategic as a lot of the more manual processes can be done by automation, which is freeing up time for more challenging work”. Artificial Intelligence is moving into the accounting space, allowing humans to concentrate on making the best choices for their clients. Likewise, it’s allowing accountants to take on more work. This trend is set to continue as the decade progresses.

Decision driven data

The ability to handle large amounts of data has meant accounting firms can turn their attention to more detailed forms of reporting. These analytics ultimately help firms collect key financial insights, identify inefficiencies, and track the progress of a business’s forecasts. 2021 will see more and more businesses embrace data analytics to inform their decision-making and its cloud technology that’s making these decisions so accessible.

Enterprise Risk Management (ERM)

As we now know too well, a global crisis can strike at any time and rewrite the plans of even the largest businesses. Having an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) plan in place has always been a best practice for larger businesses. 2021 however, will see a rise in more companies taking a proactive approach to how they handle a crisis. The team or individual looking after the finances of a business has unique insight into cashflow, supply chains and where money needs to be when things go wrong. For 2021, you can expect ERM strategies to be an item high on the agenda for companies and accountants across the world.

Remote working will remain the new norm

One huge advantage of cloud technology is the ability to work from anywhere with an internet connection. This means the transition from office to dining room table has been as smooth as possible for accountants already harnessing the power of cloud technology.

A study from 2020 reported that over half of all financial offers were planning to make working remotely a permanent option for 2021. The nature of cloud accounting software means businesses can do exactly that. From the comfort of your home, cloud technology means jumping from invoices to inventory levels to any supply chain issues. Whether that’s from a phone, PC or tablet, it’s all achievable from anywhere with an internet connection.

A business that stays behind is more likely to fall behind

What 2020 highlighted more than ever before was the benefit of having automation and cloud technology at the fingertips of your business. As you can expect, it was the accountants and financial professionals with this technology already at the core of their operation that fared better through such a challenging year. Predictions about the future of accounting aren’t just to stay informed, they’re to give your business the best chance of moving with the 21st century.

Whether you’re an accountant or not, the future for accounting will be an interesting one. To tackle what’s to come we recommend partnering up with a software vendor that understands the challenges to come. With our ICAEW approved accounting software, you can rest assured we have the right technology to support you and your clients.