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 The future of accounting is coming fast, as firms race to integrate new technologies into their practices.  In fact, a staggering 96% of accountants believe that automation will be vital to their future growth and success. Emerging trends such as cloud-based accounting, machine learning, blockchain, robotic process automation (RPA), and enhanced client-centric services are fundamentally altering the landscape. 


By integrating these technologies, accounting firms not only can retain their client base, but also elevate their roles as strategic consultants and distinctly position themselves in a competitive market, ensuring they remain at the forefront of the industry’s evolution.

Here are five of the trends transforming the accounting profession right now.


Cloud-based accounting 

Cloud-based accounting stores and protects your data and applications online so your employees can access it securely from anywhere with an internet connection. That means that they can instantly pull up relevant information for clients, fostering real-time financial insight and collaboration. With cloud-based accounting, you can bring your work anywhere — to in-person meetings, digital forums, and online groups. Just as important, its greater efficiencies give you and your staff more time to focus on big picture items such as tax, regulatory, security, and compliance thought leadership.  

Moving to the cloud sets your firm apart as a forward-thinking, client-centric organization, allowing you to dig deeper into what your clients want and need from their accounting relationships. That can result in more business and higher profits for your firm. According to one survey, 71% of accounting firms that shifted to the cloud in 2023 showed higher profits afterward, compared with only 55% of all firms. 


Machine learning 

Machine learning harnesses computer technology to recognize patterns and create algorithms that predict and automate next steps based on the patterns. It can automate routine tasks for increased efficiency. Equally important, it allows you to look ahead of the curve through predictive analytics to give you an edge in making strategic business decisions.  

Machine learning frees your employees from the tasks they enjoy least: the manual, rote, repetitive processes that the system can easily automate. At the same time, it gives more time for innovation, creativity, and deep engagement with clients that can give your firm a competitive advantage.  


Real-time payments 

Real-time payments make it possible to transfer funds instantaneously between any two financial accounts. Unlike old-fashioned systems that might not operate at night or the weekends, they provide this service on demand 24/7, including holidays.

Speedy payments mean businesses have access to vital funds more quickly, provides enhanced security and transparency in transactions, and reduce transaction risk. In addition, real-time payment processing allows more data to be attached to each transaction, so that the payment itself can provide a record of the exact timing and terms of the exchange.  


Robotic process automation (RPA) 

Accounting firms spend significant amounts of their time on repetitive, low-value tasks. RPA gives accountants that time back by automating time-consuming tasks like data entry and reconciliation. Accounting firms that integrate RPA into their businesses have more time for higher value activities including strategic analysis, decision-making, and client advising services — leading to higher productivity and efficiency. 

Increasingly, accounting firms will need this technology to attract and retain top accounting talent. New graduates, especially, come to the job market with sharper technology skills than ever. If your firm isn’t already implementing machine learning and robotic process automation, you may not have access to the best and brightest.  


Client-centric services 

Forward-thinking accounting firms are going beyond basic requirements to offer sophisticated, client-centered services. Freeing up working time with the above methods allows them to specialize in business planning services for their clients’ long-term strategies and goals. Others offer cost optimization advisor and working capital management services or guidance on multi-jurisdiction tax and advisory services. Many also advise on payroll processing and compliance or technology. In a competitive marketplace, in-depth knowledge and specialized expertise commands a premium.  


Thriving now and in the future 

The accounting profession is always changing. As new technologies emerge and the regulatory environment shifts, how you can support your clients — and their own expectations — will also evolve. By using technology to uplevel your offerings and automate mundane, repetitive accounting functions, you can spend more time on strategy and providing deeper value.  

Plooto helps businesses automate payments and workflows to eliminate manual data entry. Try Plooto for free for 30 days to see how much time and money automation can save.   

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