Hi, I’m Ian Moss and I’m excited to have joined Diversified Communications as the editor on Accountancy Insight, the soon-to-be-launched content platform for our Accountex events.

Whether it’s Brexit, automation, artificial intelligence or machine learning, 2018 promises to be a big year of change for the accountancy profession.  And I’m looking forward to keeping you up to speed on all the innovation, news and nuance in the industry.  So, watch this space…

But, first, here are some insights for 2018 and beyond from accountancy movers and shakers:

What key trends, tech, opportunities/challenges, regulations etc do you think will have the biggest impact on the accounting industry in the coming year?
Amanda C. Watts, founder & managing director of TwentyTwo Agency:

The accounting industry will have to embrace the key marketing trends that are presenting themselves in 2018.  Data driven marketing will be essential to maximise a firm’s growth.  A keen understanding of the buyer’s journey will be paramount.  Firms will need to strive to know where consumers are at every stage of their purchasing path, answer the questions that are being asked, and build deeper relationships and trust.

Video will continue to be a trend that pioneering firms embrace, and will remain one of the most influential and popular ways to share content to impact and engage businesses.

The accounting profession in 5 words or less
Technically brilliant, vital and evolving

Gordon Gilchrist, speaker & writer at 2020 Innovation Training:

Never has there been so much change as now; Technology has facilitated cloud accounting (aided and abetted by HMRC with MTD in the UK), outsourcing abroad and the use of artificial intelligence for auditing, business advisory and tax services.

The continued shortage of people in the profession will further the Talent War and see continued double digit growth in the outsourcing industry in places like the Philippines and India.

Bookkeeping will enjoy the greatest growth ever within the profession, other compliance services will become subject to a new and exciting “monthly subscription” business model – no longer will we see annual fees quoted for an annual service – this will be replaced by a monthly subscriptions for a monthly service (which will include the preparation and filing of accounts and tax returns).

We will move up the value chain (yet again) and wealth management, tax planning, profit improvement, the Virtual Financial officer, strategic growth plans will all become the norm as accounting firms websites host “self-serve” tools to engage clients on these issues.

Finally, new consolidators will appear anxious to buy up accounting firms, building a profession services “monthly subscription” business and creating enhanced capital value for shareholders.

Hannah Dawson, founder & CEO of FUTRLI:

Data became the new currency in 2017 and with it came a transformational agenda for accountants.  In 2018, it will continue to impact the industry dramatically.  The real-time financial data available is creating opportunities for firms to find new ways of working with clients.

The challenge for accountants in 2018 is to find ground-breaking ways to add value.  Greater efficiencies and insights, made possible by data, will see successful firms move to advisory roles and place forecasting and scenario planning at the forefront.  Firms will need to focus on repositioning teams, so new advisory capacities stand out.

Describe the accounting profession in 5 words or less
Embracing advisory, enabled by data

Rudi Jansen, head coach at Accoa & author of The Highly Profitable Accountant*:

Technology will continue to play a huge part in shaping the accountancy industry in 2018.

The opportunity that is available to practices who choose to fully embrace this, is one where they can automate and streamline their practice, enabling them to improve their service offering and spend even more time with clients helping them to achieve both their business and personal goals.

As this technology becomes commonplace, outstanding people delivering outstanding customer service will be the key differentiator between practices.  The challenge is therefore going to be hiring and training the right people, in order to do this successfully.

Describe the accounting profession in 5 words or less?
A golden opportunity.

Adam Reynolds WebexpensesAdam Reynolds, CEO of Webexpenses:

The emergence and continued progression of cloud products in the market is still having a tremendous impact on the accounting and finance industry.

Noticeably there has been divide between the accountants who have embraced modernising their financial methods to help their businesses, practices, and clients, and those who have shown a particular resistance or fear to discovering new technologies.  Financial cloud technology is continuing to advance, providing a more efficient way of communicating with other business apps and services.  We’re seeing a greater number of accountants become cloud integrators, an evolving business model that enables them to use their position as trusted advisers to help businesses with technology decisions.

More broadly Software-as-a-Service is impacting how and what we account on, as well as traditional information, a knowledge of SaaS metrics is becoming a prerequisite for modern accountants.

Describe the accounting profession in 5 words or less
Analytical. Insightful. Collaborative. Communicative. Decision-making.

Caroline Plumb OBE, CEO of Fluidly.com*:

OpenBanking came into force in January 2018 – while this will be a slow burn vs a Big Bang change, this regulation will further increase access to financial data that is critical to good business decisions.

Accountants have the opportunity to be at the forefront of this data-driven advisory world – combining human with machine intelligence to make a real difference to the way businesses are run and grow.

Describe the accounting profession in 5 words or less?
Fundamental foundations for your success

Rob Brown, founder of BD Academy*

1. The demise of the technically strong accountant with no people skills.
Smart accountants are commonplace.  To add value both to your firm and your clients, you need some level of empathy, relationship and personal insight.  Numbers are great, but it’s still a people business.

2. The rise of the work winning accountant.
If you’re in a larger firm, the ability to win work makes you extremely valuable, desirable, employable and promotable.  It’s fast track to partner.  In a smaller firm, you become the engine room of business development.

Accountants skilled and confident in networking, generating new business and creating value through relationships will definitely have the edge in 2018.

Describe the accounting profession in 5 words or less?
The networked, trusted accountant rules

Do you have anything you’d like to add?  Please let us know!

Email Ian at [email protected] – and we’ll try to include your comments in a follow-up post.

Accountex Summit North is the new, free-to-attend, one day accounting conference and exhibition coming to Manchester Central on 6 March 2018.

*Speaking/exhibiting at Accountex London.

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