You don't often see a paraphrased Mae West quote as part of a study on the future of accounting, but with the rise of mobile and cloud computing it makes sense (sort of).
Last week Intuit released the 2103 Future of Accountancy report.
We co-authored this report with Intuit and it's an update of The Future of the Accounting Profession study we did with them in 2011.
The forecast update was done by conducting several "think tanks" with practicing accountants, industry analysts and accounting related media members.
The main think tank was held in September at the Intuit Accounting Summit.
The report covers shifts in demographics, technology, accounting industry structure, economics and practice management, but two key findings jumped out at me:
1. Mobile, Cloud and Social technologies are rapidly becoming the main tools for accounting professionals. This shift is happening even faster than we forecast in 2011 (and we forecast a very fast transition to these technologies in 2011). These tools are allowing accounting firms to provide real-time customer support and "appify" the entire accounting experience.
It's also allowing accounting firm clients to access and interact with their accounting information and professionals from their mobile computing devices. In other words, clients can now carry their accountant in their pocket.
2. Outsourcing is both a threat and an opportunity for accounting firms. In 2011 we saw outsourcing as mostly a threat and the vast majority of accounting industry professionals we interviewed at that time agreed.
But as we pointed out in Outsourcing and the Future of Accounting, it's also a key opportunity for accounting firms. This is because accounting firms are well positioned to serve the growing number of firms that want to outsource all or part of their bookkeeping and accounting functions.
The accounting profession continues to be an excellent case study on the broader future of knowledge work. The same trends and shifts that buffeting the accounting industry are also impacting most knowledge workers.
The good news is the accounting industry is adjusting and adapting to these shifts and finding profitable ways to thrive. We think the same will be true for other knowledge based firms and workers.