2018 Trends for Corporate Accounting Professionals

2018 Trends for Corporate Accounting Professionals

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What workforce trends can corporate accounting professionals expect to see through the end of 2018? While the adoption of advanced automation and cloud-based platforms will continue to increase, socioeconomic changes, tax reform, and the rise of blockchain technology will start to have an impact.

Kelly® is pleased to bring you this concise overview of key trends that will impact the corporate accounting sector this year. Our ongoing conversations with leading accountancy firms, combined with our proprietary research, enable us to offer this unique and timely perspective on the corporate accounting market for the upcoming year and beyond.

Increased adoption of advanced automation and artificial intelligence (AI)

Robotic process automation (RPA) will continue to have a significant impact on financial and accounting services. Data collection, processing, and analysis all become much faster, more accurate, and more affordable with automation. As a result, RPA is taking over more tasks from humans. Occupations within the accounting field are evolving accordingly, and the demand for workers with strategic, critical, and analytical thinking skills continues to rise.

Consequently, corporate accounting workers who can interface effectively with AI will increase in demand, as will the tech professionals required to develop and implement AI solutions. Similarly, there’s an ongoing demand for IT workers with a background in corporate accounting to implement, manage, and secure companies’ accounting systems.

Ongoing adoption of cloud-based accounting platforms

For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the increasing number of new cloud-based accounting platforms continues to make it easier, more efficient, and more cost-effective to keep their accounting in-house. Optimized for DIY use, these platforms are accessible from anywhere at any time, and via device, making them highly convenient for SMBs.

Due to the ongoing adoption of these solutions, the number of small and medium-sized CPA firms that are shifting their focus and service offerings will continue to grow. In order to remain relevant, firms are increasingly compelled to diversify from merely tactical support such as bookkeeping and tax preparation to a wider mix of strategic services and solutions. As a result, they will continue to need more niche finance and accounting workers who can provide business owners with strategic solutions for their businesses.

Corporate tax reform

Tax reform will impact corporations significantly. With corporate tax rates cut to 21 percent and a reduced foreign earnings repatriation tax rate, reform offers significant benefits to corporations and multinationals. Experts predict that business investments will increase due to profits generated overseas returning to the U.S. In addition, with a more favorable tax rate that’s aligned with those of other countries, a growing number of corporations are likely to establish operations in the U.S. or repatriate existing overseas operations.

As a result of these changes, there will be a growing demand for corporate accounting professionals who understands the full scope of the tax reform legislation. Corporations will need corporate accountants that know how to leverage tax reform to their advantage as new legislation will have an impact on earnings, investment potential, and the enterprise’s overall strategic planning. In addition, since current accounting methods and solutions will need to be adapted to the new requirements, there will be a need for advisory and IT workers to do this.

The millennial client

Millennials lead a significant portion of companies that generate revenue of between $1.1 million and $25 million annually. This generation of business leaders expect their corporate accounting services to cater to their own unique demands and needs—and corporate accounting firms will have to adjust accordingly. Millennial business leaders prefer the use of technology in all accounting services and want paperless accounting, mobile apps, automation, and anytime, anywhere access. They’re also looking for accountancy services that include strategic advice as opposed to straightforward bookkeeping, accounting, and controller services. Therefore, corporate accounting professionals need to be more agile than ever, and ready to embrace a changing role—with the communications skills necessary to keep company leaders in the loop regarding their business’s financial affairs.

There will be a growing demand for IT professionals with an understanding of accounting to manage online services, as well as create and manage apps. Additionally, firms will need workers who can apply accounting knowledge to advanced automation. There will also be a heightened need for corporate accounting workers with soft skills such as critical thinking, strategic thinking, and communication skills.

Blockchain technology in accounting

Blockchain is a permanent, digital ledger of transactions that cannot be altered retroactively. Instead of being centrally controlled, every transaction is simultaneously entered into all of the nodes in a blockchain in real-time. This eliminates the need for companies to reconcile their records and essentially makes them public to all participants in the chain. It can even be integrated into smart contracts that automatically execute when all conditions are met. Because of its efficiency, reliability, and real-time capabilities, blockchain offers a lot of potential for corporate accounting—although it will likely first disrupt existing services. Auditing will become much more streamlined using blockchain, which will free auditors to concentrate on more complex issues. At the same time, accountancy firms might develop new, as yet unknown, services based on blockchain.

There will be a growing demand for IT professionals with the skills to maintain the infrastructures needed to record and review transactions. In addition, accountancy firms will be looking for those with creative skills to find new ways to apply blockchain in accountancy services.

Connect with premier organizations

More than ever, your accounting and finance skills count—and are in high demand. Be sure you have a workforce partner with a proven track record in the corporate accounting sector, one that can connect you with premier finance and accounting organizations around the world. At Kelly, we are always available to discuss how our deep access and connections can benefit your finance and accounting career. 

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2018 Industry Trends for Corporate Accounting Professionals

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