The accounting industry is rapidly evolving - in part due to advances in technology which were accelerated during the pandemic. In fact, the CPA exam, the over 100-year-old gold standard, announced that their 2021 exam would focus more on business processes, automation, data analytics and a digital mindset than on more traditional topics like estate taxes or trusts. Here are some of the key accounting trends in 2021 that you should be aware of if you are interested in starting a career in accounting.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation
AI and robotic process automation (RPA) are making a huge impact on the accounting industry by automating manual, repetitive and time-consuming tasks. This frees up the accounting staff to spend their time focusing on more valuable work, such as gaining actionable insights from data and making informed decisions.
Advanced Accounting Software
Additionally, more businesses are now implementing cloud-based accounting software that integrates with Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERPs) so accounting and financial information can be tied in with other departments – such as supply chain, orders, and production management. This gives the accounting team greater visibility into the business as a whole.
Enterprises of all sizes had to embrace digital transformation during the pandemic – quickly pivoting to transition their product offerings and services to a digital platform, using new channels, and developing new payment and delivery processes. For businesses that lost revenue during the crisis, accountants had to come up with cash preservation strategies to help organizations stay afloat. The ability to be flexible, analytical and adaptive is something employers will look for when hiring their accounting staff.
Forecasting for the Future
The last year taught many businesses that they needed to be prepared for the unexpected. Today’s companies value accountants who are skilled at using budgeting, planning and forecasting software. To be proactive and forward-thinking, accountants need to understand how to use data and analytics tools and visualization dashboards to solve problems, plan ahead, and adapt to changing conditions.
As more of the workforce has transitioned to remote work, accountants need to understand how to use remote collaboration tools for things like e-signatures, file sharing, and more. Accounting staff must now be tech savvy enough to understand how to perform important financial processes from any location.
Finally, data breaches and cyber threats are more prevalent than ever, and a growing danger to businesses. Financial departments are often targeted by cyber criminals, so financial staff should understand what to look for, how to identify potential threats and avoid falling for them. Accounting teams are typically detail-oriented and can help spot anomalies and enforce better cybersecurity throughout the organization.
If you’re interested in entering the growing accounting industry, Ohio Business College is here to help you reach your goals. Check out our Accounting and Business Management Program. With flexible schedules that allow you to get your Associate’s Degree by taking day or evening classes, full or part-time, you’ll be ready to pursue an exciting and rewarding new career in finance. To learn more, visit our website or contact us today!