Over the past year Emergent Research, in collaboration with Intuit's Accounting Professionals Division, has been conducting a deep dive on the future of the accounting profession.
This work is summarized in the just released Intuit 2020 Report - The Future of the Accounting Profession.
It may be hard to believe, but this is one of the most interesting research and forecasting projects we've worked on.
The accounting profession is facing the same transformational forces impacting knowledge work in general. Because of this, the accounting profession provides an excellent case study on the future of work.
Another reason this project was so interesting was the extensive use of crowdsourcing as part of the research process.
Intuit and Emergent Research, with help from the global design and innovation firm Ideo, conducted a series of forecast workshops, exercises, and interviews with accounting professionals, academics, industry analysts and the media. These sessions identified the important trends and implications that will affect the accounting industry.
The report examines the four broad trends areas surfaced during this project and their impact on the accounting profession:
1. Shifting Business Environment Creates New Opportunities – Specialization and collaboration will lead to increased opportunities for accounting and tax professionals who will work across global borders to meet their client needs, made possible by advances in technology.
2. Demographic Shifts Change the Face of Professionals and Clients – Demographic shifts and a growing U.S.-based minority population will have broad implications for firms and their clients, influencing how, when and with whom they do business.
3. From Data to Decision Making, Technology Changes the Accounting Profession – As technology expands and the automation of data collection rises, the focus of accounting will shift from computation to consulting as clients increasingly rely on their accounting professionals to analyze business information, support decisions and provide strategic advice.
4. High-Tech Enhances High-Touch Client Outreach, Relationships and Service – Social media and ubiquitous mobile technologies will become even more pervasive, changing the way accounting and tax professionals conduct business and attract new clients. It will be imperative for practitioners to manage their web and mobile presences to establish firm reputation and brand.
Over the next few weeks we'll have more on this project and what these trends mean for the future of work.