2023: by the numbers - Top three trends to help Accountancy Firms thrive in 2023

Well, 2022 was a bit of a hellscape, wasn’t it? Recessions, political merry-go-rounds, Royal dramas, problematic world cups, and the ever-present ghost at the feast that is Brexit have all left their mark on the UK this year. And we enter next year with the Bank of England prediction UK growth at -1.3% while the rest of the world isn’t expected to fare much better; Morgan Stanley’s global outlook suggest peak inflation and a global GDP growth of just 2.2%.  

As an accountant you’d be forgiven, then, for being a bit gloomy about what 2023 has in store for your company. Especially when you consider the long term changes that are still rocking firms today. Iris reports that One in three (32%) accountants reveal their clients now expect them to deliver advisory services on top of day-to-day compliance work, and without paying additional fees. And that’s on top of having to deal with the mess that is MTD (Making Tax Digital). The two biggest pain points noted by accountants were moving clients to MTD (43% mentioned) and preparing their own practice to do so (40% mentioned).

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We want every accountancy firm to thrive in 2023. To help with that, we’ve talked to some of the biggest research and advisory companies in the UK to pick out three big trends for the coming year, and how Accountants can best take advantage of them.

Trend 1: Staffing up in the clouds

Sagenext reports that over two thirds (67%) of Accountants approved the introduction of cloud-based accountancy services over the past few years, citing how they’ve streamlined and enhanced their work quality and speed.

The adoption of cloud-based services will continue, and as a result we predict that it will address the biggest shortages in skilled accountants in 2023. ICAEW reported a near 40% drop in accountants entering the profession between 2021 and 2022, with many more leaving due to increased pressures from clients and mental health concerns.

Cloud-based technology and the rise of remote working gives accountancy firms both access to more globally-based talent (without the need to recruit locally), and as Forbes discovered in 2021, remote working can significantly improve mental health of a pressured workforce.

If your firm hasn’t already embraced cloud-based solutions for its workflows, then 2023 is the year to make it happen – for the benefit of your team’s skills and its health.

Trend 2: Being relevant – and essential

Many accoutnants are concerned about Accountants being relevant to the modern world. Jeff Thompson, president and CEO of Institute of Management Accountants, says: “We are in an environment of speed, uncertainty, volatility and disruption. Is our profession fit for purpose? Are we agile and upskilling quickly enough in the areas of data science, technology enablement, strategy management and "nonfinancial" performance management? Are we doing a good enough job at telling the story of the profession as one that is ethically sound, generates value for multiple stakeholders, makes a difference and inspires trust?

That’s quite a to-do list. But really it reflects that ongoing trends we see above: the shift from accountants being reactive bookkeepers to proactive business advisors and strategic thinkers.

In 2023 businesses will need to navigate an ever more complex world of MTD, recessionary pressures and uncertainty about where customers will come from and what regulatory compliance will be needed to safely manage them. And all this positions the accountant as a key strategic role to best support their business. Spotlight Reporting predicts that rather than fighting to stay relevant, Accountants should be proving themselves as a more vital part of all business decision making. To do that accountants need to streamline their existing workload processes – using cloud technologies, outsourcing big data analysis, simplifying compliance and digitising workflows – to free up more time to provide strategic advice and analysis.

Trend 3: Going passwordless will finally be feasible

CPA Practice Advisor is predicting that while major corporate players will promote passwordless authentication standards, accountants are going to ignore them and stick with familiar identity management solutions including complex 12+ character passwords, MFA (multi-factor authentication), and password wallets for identity management through 2023.

Our take: Going passwordless – especially for verification and onboarding with APLYiD’s biometric technology – is cheaper and more accessible than ever before, and saves a huge amount of time with data entry and workflow management. We think for once that the big boys have it right: if your competitors are going to play it safe this year and stick with clumsy, vulnerable identity management solutions than you can steal a march on them with passwordless technology.

To find out more about our biometric onboarding and verification software, you can get in touch here.

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