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Mon, Jan 9, '23

2023 Predictions: The Future of Accounting is “More”

We closed out 2022 the best way we know how: we threw a party! While there were several accounting conferences going on throughout December, we invited accounting experts to a happy hour in Austin, TX, to kick off ITA and DCPA, cosponsored with our friends at Dayshape and Botkeeper. We laughed, we networked, we did a Yeti cooler giveaway…and we picked their brains!

Our burning question for accounting firms: “What are your predictions for the accounting field in 2023?”

Their responses were universally bold, positive, and future-oriented. From them emerged a clear theme for accounting in 2023: more. Building on trends we’ve seen emerge over the last decade–and at a crazy rate since the pandemic–accountants are predicting more automation, advisory services, leveraging of data, and adoption of digital technology.

One week after we conducted our predictions survey, Aiwyn’s own Pat Morrell (CRO) and Heather Mesquita (VP National Accounts) hosted a Fireside Chat Webinar with leaders from three prominent associations collectively representing more than 1,000 member firms. And not surprisingly, their predictions lined up with our informal survey. Firms of all sizes and geographies are buzzing about the same challenges, opportunities, and issues heading into the year 2023. Let’s expand on the four we mentioned:

  • Automation

Michael Horowitz of BDO Alliance USA put it simply: “The use of automation is here to stay.” He and the other participants in our fireside chat recognized that younger entrants into the accounting field especially are looking to do meaningful, value-adding work rather than rote tasks. Automation of those tasks–in addition to the time/cost savings it brings–will continue to be an important part of attracting and retaining the next generation of great talent.

Beyond retention, leveraging AI and Machine Learning to automate repetitive tasks frees up time and mind space for employees to do higher-level work that humans are uniquely suited for, like serving clients and making strategic decisions.

 

  • Client Advisory Services (CAS)

More and more accounting firms are expanding their service offerings to include advisory. It makes sense, given the trust and goodwill accounting firms work hard to build with their clients over the years–why not explore ways to strengthen those relationships?

Maureen Dillmore, PrimeGlobal’s Executive Director for North America, observed that the recessionary climate that will likely carry through 2023 could cause clients to turn to their trusted accounting firms for answers and advice on how to weather it. Firms that have already expanded into advisory services are poised for good growth in that practice area; firms that haven’t could benefit from considering it.

CPA.com’s 2022 CAS Benchmarking Survey reported a median growth rate of 16% over the previous year, and there’s a good chance 2023’s number could be even higher.

 

  • Leveraging of Data

Firms are generating data all the time–but not all of them are capturing it in a form that helps them make strategic business decisions.

Aiwyn’s CRO Pat Morrell is passionate on this point: “The firms that can leverage data not just for retrospective analysis but for making smarter decisions in the future and to actually preemptively identify risks are the firms that are going to excitedly outperform peers.”

 

  • Adoption of Digital Technology

Let’s be real: accounting as a field has not always been known for its enthusiasm for adopting cutting-edge technology. But that’s changing, and it will continue to do so in 2023. Firms are starting to build on successful use cases of leveraging advanced tech in one area of firm operations–say billing or workflow management–so they may now be more open to expanding that tech to other areas.

Staying technologically relevant is also an important retention tool in the ongoing war for talent. Ellen O’Sullivan, Executive Director for Moore North America, has been hearing from firm leaders that more and more staff members are asking to be trained on the latest accounting technology. They appreciate the value it adds and they want to stay technologically savvy as part of their own professional development.

Expect ongoing digitization of firm operations in 2023.

 

And probably the biggest “more” we can all expect in the industry: change! At Aiwyn, we love being at the forefront of that change. Helping firms prepare for the future is why we exist.

We completely agree with thought leader Ed Mendlowitz, Partner at a Top 25 firm, Withum, in his 2023 predictions piece for Accounting Today: there is more change coming, and firm leaders and decision makers need to take the stance of “open-minded adapter” rather than resister of change.

Thanks to all our participants in this predictions survey and last month’s Fireside Chat Webinar! We appreciate those partnerships, support, and sharing of ideas. Bring on 2023!

Want to find out more? Schedule a demo and see how Aiwyn’s Billing, Payments & Collections, and Insights solutions can help your accounting firm save time and money.

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