Five Looming Changes in the Field of Accounting

Emerging Accounting Trends Defining the Field

  • Machine Learning and Automation
  • Blockchain Technology
  • Cloud Integration
  • Applied Data Science
  • Global Compliance

Much like every professional field, accounting is always facing the prospect of looming changes that could reshape the entire industry. However, the last decade has seen the emergence of numerous ground-breaking technological and procedural developments that could transform what it means to be an accountant. While qualified and experienced accountants are still in high demand, the skills and knowledge desired by employers are likely to shift along with these new developments in the field.

Related resource: Top 10 Online Master’s in Accounting Degree Programs

1. Machine Learning and Automation

Harnessing the power of machine learning has become a driving focus for companies in many different industries, particularly those related to finance. Typically, machine learning is a job for data scientists who have a strong background in data management, mathematics, statistics and software development. Even with dedicated data scientists on staff, accountants are likely to see an exponential increase in the frequency and importance of applied data science in their daily work.

2. Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology grabbed a lot of public attention during recent periods of explosive growth in cryptocurrency markets, but digital currency is only one of its many potential application. Since blockchain is a ledger technology, it is specifically designed to allow for near-instant information sharing with heightened security and visibility, according to Forbes. Since accountants often handle sensitive information for their employers or clients, blockchain may also transform the cybersecurity measures used to protect sensitive data.

3. Cloud Integration

Cloud technology isn’t exactly new, but it has reached a point of near-inevitably for large and small companies alike. Cloud technology is particularly powerful in the accounting field, as it allows for multi-user access to digital tools and databases through a single platform. Working in a shared digital environment is a boon for collaborative effort and makes it easier for leaders to coordinate their teams. It also makes it much easier to control access to critical systems and monitor user activity on the network.

4. Applied Data Science

Data science may be a relatively young field, but it is growing at a remarkable rate. Data is incredibly useful in the accounting profession, especially when developing forecasts or long-term business strategies. As modern internet and computer technology opens the opportunity for comprehensive data collection, companies are now looking for ways to use this resource to their advantage.

5. Global Compliance

Even as more accounting processes are automated and streamlined thanks to technology, there are some aspects of the field that are getting more complex. International trade and globe-spanning enterprise are happening more than ever before, which means ensuring financial compliance isn’t always an easy task. Even companies operating in just the United States must follow an evolving set of accountant standards and regulations. Since these rules are always subject to change, accountants need to know how to make the most out of their compliance efforts.

Computers and the internet have undoubtedly transformed almost every aspect of the financial industry as well as the methods companies use to track their assets and operations. This digital evolution is still unfolding, so these looming changes to the accounting field are likely not the last major trends to grow in the years ahead.