Five pillars to future proof your accounting firm
James Paille is a Certified Payroll Professional and Director of Compliance for IRIS Software Group Americas.
The accounting industry is at the crossroads of change – with ongoing talent shortages as accounting and auditing have seen a 17% workforce reduction over the past several years and technological innovation bringing automation to the profession.
As accounting firms aim to exceed client expectations with the ongoing talent crisis, they need to take the following fundamental changes into account:
- The rise in cloud–based software – Today's young talent grew up submitting school assignments on Google Drive and expect their employers to utilize the same cloud-based systems they have become accustomed to. Firms will need to invest in cloud-based technology that enables seamless document sharing and work from anywhere. Further, harnessing cloud-based technology can help eliminate mundane tasks.
- Employee recruitment and retention strategies evolve – 70% of IRIS Software Group customers identified recruiting and retaining good employees as their firm's top challenge in 2023. As the war for top talent persists, firms will need to break the status quo and think of innovative talent attraction and retention policies. This includes utilizing new processes and tools to attract young talent along with increased starting salaries. Technology such as workflow automation can enable firms to streamline tasks and invest in promising talent.
- New payroll regulations come into the fold – 61% of accounting firms report offering payroll services to add value for clients, but new regulation is on the horizon. The federal government is expected to mandate money transmitter licenses for payroll providers to expand on the state-level requirements. This will require ensuring the firm's payroll provider has the proper licenses to prepare for when the regulation goes into effect.
- Clients increasingly seek customized data analytics – Accountants have access to key business documents, including financials, organization structure and planning. By leveraging these documents, accountants can become invaluable to executives through data-driven insights to inform critical business decisions. Technology is a game changer in automating business analytics assessment and reducing manual workloads.
- Cyberattacks will increase in frequency and severity -- Accounting firms are a prime target for cybercriminals because they house sensitive client financial data. Q1 2023 alone saw 1,707,880 cyberattack victims in the financial services sector. Firms that still operate with legacy on-premise systems are at greater risk for an attack as they are inherently less secure than updated, patched systems. Firms must ensure data security remains top of mind when working with third-party vendors by prioritizing cybersecurity certifications such as System and Organization Controls (SOC).
Prepare for the future
The accounting industry will continue to evolve over the next few years and firms need to stay a step ahead. Looking to technology can help solve critical pain points for accountants to drive efficiency and overcome key challenges such as the talent crisis.
To learn more about how technology solutions can help future-proof your firm and help you evolve as you grow, reach out to the IRIS team today. The accounting industry will continue to undergo significant change – is your firm prepared?