There’s no shortage of studies and reports and whitepapers about what the future of the accounting and finance profession looks like, and now the folks at Wolters Kluwer and CCH are offering their two cents.
As I mentioned last week, the annual CCH Connections user conference in Miami Beach was held in October, and during the conference the folks at Wolters Kluwer released a whitepaper titled “Technology Hype or Reality? What Firms Really Need to Know to Thrive in a World of Change.”
The paper is based on an annual survey of tax and accounting firms conducted by Wolters Kluwer. The idea is that firms can use the findings of that survey to distinguish technology hype from its real promise and to generate ideas that they can use to lead their firms – and their clients – into the future.
So we’re going to spend some time during this week’s episode of “Future-Proof” taking a deeper dive into those findings and what they mean for the profession. Helping us do that is our guest, Jim McGinnis, executive vice president and general manager of Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting’s U.S. Mid and Large Firm Segment.
In this conversation, we cover:
- Which digital transformations are impacting the profession the most.
- Which new technologies are worth paying attention to.
- What the implications of these findings are for the profession.
- How accounting and finance professionals are reacting.
Listen to the podcast here:
What did Wolters Kluwer find?
Let’s take a closer look at the Wolters Kluwer survey’s findings:
- Only 17 percent of firms completely understand the impact artificial intelligence will have over the next three years.
- Only 25 percent of firms believe they are extremely well-positioned to meet market needs.
- On the other hand, 92 percent of profitable firms using integrated solutions feel confirmed about their ability to keep pace with change.
Those findings dovetail nicely with other research we’ve seen recently. Profitable firms with resources at hand feel pretty good about their future, but overall, the profession has a ways to go. CPA.com, the technology arm of the AICPA, released a report a couple years ago that found only 8 percent of CPAs say they are “future-ready,” and Wolters Kluwer’s latest research seems to support that.
The Wolters Kluwer survey also asked firm leaders to identify their most pressing business concerns. The top 5 responses were:
- Keeping up with technological change
- Growing the business
- Meeting client expectations
- Data security
- Completing work accurately and on time
And in a nod to the world in which we live these days, that’s the first time that the survey’s respondents have identified “Keeping up with technological change” as their top concern. They’re really beginning, it seems, to understand that exponential advances in technology are the new norm and that they need to get ahead of that change curve.
If you want to read the report in its entirety, you’ll find it at engagetax.wolterskluwer.com/Survey2018.