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With changes in business practices, advances in technology and the number of accounting firms growing worldwide, it is not surprising that the accounting landscape is rapidly evolving. Accountancy firms are constantly keeping their eye out for new trends to adopt in order to stay on top of their game; if you have an accountant, you need to stay on the lookout, as this will affect you too!

Here are 5 new trends emerging in 2020 that are going to be popular with accountants – inspired by a webinar held by Receipt Bank!

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1. Accountants with flexible hours

Nowadays, flexible working is a common practice amongst accountants.  This is because accountants do not require many resources to work effectively from home. Research has found that accountants can often become overwhelmed because of their work. For example:

  • 76% of accountants have reported that they feel stressed
  • 38% of accountants check their work e-mails outside of working hours

A study carried out into flexible workers by Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) also found:

  • 38% of flexible workers feel happier
  • 35% feel less stress
  • 36% had more time to spend with their families
  • 27% worked longer hours in the new flexi-routine than they did when shackled to normal office hours

These figures provide an understandable reason for choosing to work flexible, more relaxed hours, over a fixed schedule with 5 or sometimes 7 days a week.

How can a flexible accountant help your business?

An accountant that can work flexibly may be very beneficial for you if you work from home or you work long hours. Flexible accountants are able to tailor their schedule around your needs and they are more likely to meet you personally for a consultation.

So, do not be too surprised if your accountant begins to work flexible hours in 2020 – and do not be worried either, as there are many benefits you can reap from this new trend!

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2. Even more Accountancy apps

Many practices have become digitised in recent years and accountancy is no exception. Accountants are harnessing the endless opportunities that apps present to make life easier for their clients.

The following statistics just go to show the overwhelming popularity of apps amongst accountants:

  • There has been a 68% increase in apps in the past four years
  • 79 apps are used by the average medium-sized business (51-100 employees)

It is advantageous that accountants have a wide range of apps to choose from. However, some accountants also find the number of apps intimidating and believe they can complicate the accounting process. For example, it has been discovered that 43% of accountants switch between too many apps to get basic work done. 

Because of this, the most popular applications are all beginning to integrate features that are useful for accountancy firms. This is so that accountants can focus on one app rather than switching between them. Accountants are also becoming more considerate of which apps best suit their clients’ needs.

How can a growing number of accountancy apps benefit your business?

There are a number of reasons to look forward to this trend if you are a small or medium business. If your accountant uses a particular type of accountancy software or a number of different apps, it can help you to save money and time massively. As a growing number of apps are also cloud-based, this means that it is easy to access your records. Accountants are also able to cater to specific clients’ needs better with a wider choice of apps, making themselves more flexible and able to offer more options for their clients’ businesses.

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3. Blockchain Technology

“Blockchain” is the term used to describe a process which is revolutionising accountancy.

As blockchain technology is an effective way to keep client records in one place, it’s no wonder it is becoming a trend amongst accountants. Research has demonstrated how quickly blockchain has become a common practice for organisations:

  • The number of organisations who view blockchain as a top-five strategic priority increased by 10% between 2018 and 2019
  • During the same period, the number of businesses who believe they have a competitive advantage with blockchain technology increased by 9%
  • 81% of businesses surveyed are looking to replace their current systems of record

How can it help you if your accountant uses blockchain?

If your accountant is planning to blockchain in 2020, you can look forward to the benefits of this innovative technology. With blockchain, accountants are unlikely to make errors and it will take less time to audit your business’ records. Plus, blockchain data is almost “fraud-proof”, meaning it squashes any chances of fraud!

4. Global outsourcing

Many accounting firms, especially those that are UK-based, are outsourcing globally as a solution to their problems. This means accountants are employing workers in other countries to assist them in carrying out their duties.

Outsourcing is a relatively new phenomenon which has developed with the growth of globalisation. According to AccountingWeb, in the UK the percentage of work that was outsourced grew by 20% between 2017 and 2018.

Some reasons why accountants see outsourcing as a great opportunity are:

  • It gives accountancy firms the chance to outsource small, easy jobs
  • Accountants can focus on completing more demanding tasks
  • When they outsource, accountants are hiring experts who know the accounting industry inside out

How can an accountant who outsources benefit my business?

If your accountant decides they want to outsource, you can guarantee that your taxes, books and figures are in the hands of experts. There is little room for error to take place when your returns are being filed by both your accountant and an outsourced team. Not only that, your accountant will also have more time to focus all of their attention on you. As a result they will deliver the best possible service for your business.

5. Niche accounting firms

More and more accounting firms are turning to a niche to focus on and specialise in. This allows them to become an expert in a particular industry and offer advice on particular subjects. There are many advantages for accountants who decide to focus on a niche, and these include:

  • Time to specialise in providing knowledge about areas they particularly enjoy
  • Higher desirability for businesses seeking advice in areas that are underrepresented
  • Focusing on a niche can make an accounting firm stand out from the crowd

How can a niche accounting firm help my business?

Your business may need assistance in a particular field such as international tax, VAT, law, real estate etc. The truth is that an accountant who is specialised in an area you are struggling with is more likely to help your business in comparison to an accountant who offers generalised services. For example, if you are struggling with international tax compliance, consider J&P Accountants – we are an accountancy firm who specialise in VAT compliance solutions and we have the tools to help your business skyrocket to success.

Overall, these are the 5 accounting trends that are expected to take off in 2020 – at J&P, we are keeping on top of these trends to provide the best service possible for your business. If you need help with tax compliance, do not hesitate to call us on 0191 378 0287, speak to one of our advisors, or drop us an e-mail to vatdurham@jpaccountant.com.

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