Top 10 technology hard trends facing accounting and finance professionals

The faster you go, the farther ahead you have to look.

The biggest thing I have learned while working with best-selling author and global futurist Daniel Burrus over the past four years is how to do just that — look ahead farther and anticipate trends. This is what we mean by being future-ready — being aware, predictive, and adaptive of emerging trends and issues.

To help you see farther and recognize game-changing opportunities, we started with Daniel Burrus’ Top 20 Technology-Driven Hard Trends Shaping 2018 and Beyond. In order to make the list, these hard trends had to be developed enough to exponentially impact your business (see “What exponential change means to CPAs and finance professionals”). You can think about these as opportunities for growth, transformation, and innovation or as potential disruptors.

As Dan likes to say, “If it can be done, it will be done and if you don’t do it someone else will.”

He goes on to say, “These trends highlight enormous, game-changing opportunities in a broad array of applications and industries. As you read through them, look for opportunities for you to leverage them and become a positive disruptor.”

Over the past year, we have surveyed over 1,000 CPAs and finance and accounting professionals about the top trends that will impact accounting and finance over the next three years. Here is what they said in rank order:

  1. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cognitive computing in audit and tax
  2. Big Data and high-speed data analytics
  3. Adaptive and predictive cybersecurity
  4. Virtualization and automation of processes and services
  5. Mobile apps for business process innovation
  6. Blockchains and cryptocurrency
  7. Advanced cloud computing
  8. Smarter smartphones and tablets drive mobile process automation
  9. Virtualization of desktops, storage, applications, and networking
  10. Social business applications

I am adding a bonus trend — RPA, or Robotic Process Automation, thanks to my friend, Anders Liu-Lindberg. It may be a subset of No. 4, but it’s worth a separate mention as it exponentially accelerates in automating corporate accounting applications.

One more word of advice: Don’t stop at the trends impacting your firm or company. Stop and think about how these trends are impacting your clients and customers, both internal and external. Think about the hard trends facing your industry and your customers’ industries. Read the entire list and think about robotics and 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality, the Internet of Things, location-based services, drones, and wearables.

Want to learn how to apply these hard trends to become an opportunity manager? That is why we developed The Anticipatory Organization: Accounting and Finance Edition. This award-winning online learning program — specifically geared to finance and accounting professionals — is designed to help you develop anticipatory skills with which you can craft a professional mindset that balances traditional skills and values with the greater confidence that an anticipatory mindset can afford. By learning to anticipate disruptions, problems and game-changing opportunities, you can proactively shape the future of the profession from the inside out.


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