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The Future of Financial Close is Here: 2021 Accounting Trends

There are some people that think that COVID-19 changed the accounting world forever. In reality, it’s not so much that it changed the way we do things. 

We still balance the books, reconcile transactions and put a lot of effort into our month-end close. It did, however, thrust us into the future, pushing us further along the path we were already on. 

We’re a few years ahead of schedule so instead of predictions for 2025, here are the upcoming accounting trends for 2021:

    1. Supporting remote accounting team
    2. Accounting automation
    3. Blockchain in accounting
    4. The rise of financial data
    5. Outsourced Accounting Functions 
    6. Third party delivery providers are here to stay- time to reconcile those transactions.
    7. Newer generations of accountants and their relationship to software

Interested in uncovering the future of accounting? Read on to see what 2021 holds.

1. Cloud-Based Accounting Technology Is Here

While the pandemic response forced most of the U.S. workforce to work remotely from home, it’s a trend that was already gaining momentum

Before the virus arrived, there were already 7 million people working remotely (3.4% of the population). 

That number reflects an upward trend of 44% in the last five years. COVID-19 pushed that as high as 51% back in April, but has leveled out at 33% as of September. In fact, 35% of workers surveyed said they’d prefer to continue to work remotely if they have the option.

That many people working from home requires cloud-based solutions so they’re able to do their jobs. Accountants in particular have said even without the pandemic, cloud technology would make their jobs easier

2. Accounting Automation is the Key to Moving Forward

According to an ACCA study, more than half of all corporate level executives across multiple industries believe that automated systems will have the biggest impact for accountants in the next few years.  

More than 50% of accounting tasks can be automated which will: 

    • Allow accountants to utilize financial data more efficiently
    • Optimize workflow processes
    • Reduce errors and financial close time
    • Create more accurate accounting data

This will help accountants generate more accurate forecasting models and guide their companies and clients to make better data-driven decisions.

3. By the Power of Blockchain

Blockchain applications, or distributed ledger technology, are some of the more technologically advanced and emerging technologies to come into the corporate accounting space. Some of the benefits include:

    • Tracking assets easier and more accurately
    • Getting a clear view into internal accounting workflows
    • Operating more efficiently
    • Staying within your budget

Over the next year, we anticipate seeing Blockchain being critical for deep audits, providing transparent tracking into a large company’s obligations and available resources from trustworthy sources. 

We are anticipating Blockchain being immediately relevant for certain transactional areas of finance, like financial trading, sooner rather than later, but likely not part of the mid-market tech stake for several years.

4. It’s All in the Data

Data analytics is one of the by-products of the cloud-based technology that’s making accounting faster and more efficient. Data analytics can help you:

    • Collect valuable financial insights
    • Identify operational inefficiencies
    • Track client progress
    • Develop accurate financial forecasting models

As we become more fluent in the use of cloud-base accounting software solutions, more and more businesses will turn to data analytics to make better-informed decisions and to separate themselves from the competition.

5. Outsourcing Accounting Functions

With the knowledge that accounting teams can and will function perfectly well in a remote environment, the importance of in-house teams handling every aspect of month-end financial close is rapidly diminishing. In fact, there’s new interest in outsourcing certain accounting functions to third-party entities. This allows companies to:

    • Take on new clients
    • Expand the range of services offered
    • Save on labor costs
    • Focus on increasing profitability

6. The Rise of the Third Party

Prior to COVID, there was limited space for third-party delivery providers like UberEats or GrubHub. However, that all changed when we were asked to stay home for the good of the nation. More than 40% of restaurants that previously only offered dine-in or take-out as options added delivery to their offerings. That means more transactions to reconcile at the end of the month – many of which require three-way matching.

7. New Wave of Automation and Accountants 

Gone are the days of taking pen to paper and manually computing accounting data. A new generation of accountants coupled with a new generation of accounting software has brought a new wave of automation.

These new accountants have been educated with the idea that there will always be some level of automation and have honed in on learning how they can bring value and added insight to the numbers.

With more time to analyze financial data, accountants will be able to provide more value to their customers- from spending more time running future forecasts to studying past history to inform the future. We anticipate seeing accountants playing a more strategy-focused role as automation in accounting rises.

The Future of Accounting

Adra by Trintech is uniquely positioned to help you thrive in the new world of accounting. Whether you work remotely or in the office, the Adra suite of accounting software is designed to modernize and strengthen your close process no matter the industry you’re in. 

    • Streamline your internal processes and reduce risks with Task Manager
    • Take the repetition out of your balance sheet and reduce errors with Balancer
    • Automate your transactions for more accurate and reliable data with Matcher
    • Get unlimited insight and visibility into your financial close with Analytics

Go into the future positioned to increase your revenue, save time and scale your business with Adra. Schedule a demo today.