The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) recently released a report titled "100 drivers of change for the global accountancy profession," which named 100 factors expected to create uncertainty for accountants in the future.
The study, conducted by Fast Futures Research, tapped the views and insights of accounting consultants
belonging to the ACCA's Accountancy Futures Academy, as well as members of the IMA and assorted other global forums and experts. Respondents pointed to several key forces driving change within the accounting profession.Accounting compliance
The professionals who took part in the study noted that the increasing regulatory burden characterized by an increase in the amount and complexity of accounting legislation
is anticipated to drive up the cost of accounting compliance
.Advances in technology and analytics
Respondents cited "rapid advances in science and technology" as changing the accounting playing field. Indeed, the report notes that technology is "at the heart of strategy and operations of businesses of almost every size"—and accounting technology
is no exception. Relatedly, there is potential for the operational and interpretive elements of accountancy to be significantly revamped using data mining, intelligent systems and predictive analytics.Globalization
Respondents named the push to globalize the industry as a catalyst for change. In July, Hans Hoogervorst, the chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board, urged the United States to forego Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in favor of International Financial Reporting Standards. Hoogervorst noted that the IFRS framework had "achieved critical mass" with the support of more than two-thirds of the G-20 major economies.Organizational involvement
CFOs and accountants are expected to play an increasingly large role in corporate decision-making, revenue model design and more. This introduces the need to establish strong working relationships across organizational and industry ecosystems.Trust and transparency
As part of an overall push toward transparency, those within the accounting profession are feeling pressure to augment their public images and build upon current financial reporting practices to provide a more comprehensive yet simplified look at how their firms are doing and what their future options are.
The report recommended a five-pronged plan for accountants to follow, which included planning for volatility, preparing for true globalization, nurturing an adaptable environment, pursuing technology leadership and monitoring conditions that could foreshadow future developments. To read the full report, click here