The 7 Trends That Will Reshape Accountancy in 2024
The engine of change in accountancy is not what you think. As we head into 2024, everyone is talking about AI, other technologies and automation. It’s important to be aware of those trends - but what accountants really need to know is the implications these things have for day-to-day work and for the profession as a whole.
Technological developments are attention-grabbing, and it makes sense that people are focused on them. The evolution of generative AI alone in the last year is tremendous, enabling innovation that would have seemed like science fiction only a few years ago. Accounting is no exception to the influence of this trend; according to Markets and Markets research, AI in accounting market size is expected to reach $4.791 billion, growing at a CAGR of 48.4% in 2024.
What matters in practice, however, is the real implications for actual accountants and what these say about the direction of accountancy more generally. We’ve narrowed this down to the 7 trends that will define 2024 in accounting.
Trend #1: Efficiency
The Intuit QuickBooks Accountant Technology Survey found that the number one benefit of technology is that it’s helping to boost revenue due to efficiency gains (41%). At the same time, 48% plan to invest in automation tools and artificial intelligence over the next 12 months. The desire for greater efficiency is clearly a powerful motivator for accounting professionals.
Increased automation reduces manual hours spent on repetitive tasks, increases accuracy, and encourages firms to be more thoughtful and precise about putting the right processes in place to start with. The impact of this must not be underestimated. All of this increased efficiency and productivity has significant knock-on effects - as is shown in many of the other trends of 2024.
Trend #2: Upskilling Accountants
Integrating with new technology is not enough. If you rely on artificial intelligence without investing in human resources, you will never reap the full benefits of your tech.
As Justin Adams, CEO of Aiwyn, says, “While AI won't replace accountants, it will necessitate upskilling in data analysis and AI literacy. Accountants who embrace AI will be well-positioned to thrive in this exciting new era of accounting.” This level of upskilling is valuable for both individual professionals and for their firm, bringing needed perspective and abilities.
Trend #3: Expansion of Accountancy
The combination of greater efficiency and wider skills will in turn expand the parameters of accountancy, making it possible to spend more time on client relationships and on providing tailored strategic advice, suggestions and solutions.
Accountants have always been trusted advisors, and so a shift within the profession that sees it move towards a more consultative approach is a natural fit. Already, 82% of accountants say technology is creating more meaningful client interactions.
Trend #4: Focus on Value Will Bring Balance
Automation and efficiency will free accountants from the traditional focus on billable hours. With previously manual work automated, and a fresh emphasis on advice and strategy, the focus will shift from hours to value, transforming what is possible for work/life balance.
“In 2024,” says Aiwyn COO Ellen Choi, “AI will let accountants live more thriving, flourishing lives that enable them to achieve better work/life balance, combat burnout, and spend more time doing what they love doing - serving their clients and becoming their trusted advisors. Ironically, by introducing more of the "artificial" into their lives, accountants will become more human, authentic, and "real" versions of themselves. At Aiwyn, we are excited to be serving our profession in accelerating this progress.”
Trend #5: Capacity Crunch Will Start to Ease
Automation and efficiency will reduce the pressure on accounting professionals by reducing the load they currently bear. Many accountants understand this already; 42.71% of the respondents in a survey conducted by Aiwyn answered that automation and technology adoption should be the first step in improving today’s capacity issue.
Additionally, increasing automation makes it easier and more streamlined to employ contract workers for some aspects of the work, further reducing the capacity crunch that has presented such a challenge for the profession in recent years.
Trend #6: Cybersecurity Front and Center
The shift towards automation and the need to evaluate data storage and processes that comes with that will also make it easier for firms to improve their cybersecurity profile, which is vital in 2024 given the sensitive nature of the data that the accounting industry works with, and the need for the profession to retain its trusted and responsible image.
Approaching the cybersecurity challenge in a holistic manner, leveraging the efficiencies of automation, will make this more effective and minimize disruption for employees and clients.
Trend #7: M&A Will Continue Apace
The impact of efficiency on revenue will ensure that accountancy remains an attractive target for investment. At the same time, increased efficiency and automation within firms makes successful M&A processes simpler and more straightforward.
Over time, this will help the industry to achieve shared best practices and standards that will be of benefit as the profession reshapes itself to the needs of the future.
Head Into 2024 Tech First
Accounting firms and professionals who understand and leverage these trends will have a significant advantage heading into 2024. The positive potential for daily routine, firm efficiency and revenue, and a natural shift towards a future-focused outlook, is huge - and just waiting to be unleashed.
Connect with Aiwyn today to experience unrivaled data security and compliance!