From data security and compliance to attracting new clients and maintaining profits, the biggest challenges for accountants in 2015 illustrate a changing business environment that requires professionals to address new accounting concerns in the years ahead. In recent surveys, accountants cited the following issues as their primary concerns for 2015.
Attracting New Clients
According to an International Federation of Accountants survey and a smaller study conducted by Hinge Marketing, the biggest accounting concern for 2015 is business development and successfully attracting new clients. Small- and medium-size firms plan to put more emphasis on marketing, and more accountants are turning to lead-generation services and professional marketing teams to help their businesses grow. Agencies are concentrating on building their brand to increase loyalty and awareness in a highly competitive market.
Staffing and Leadership
The demand for quality finance professionals is high, especially with many senior-level members of management approaching the age of retirement. This creates an assortment of accounting concerns involving staffing as well as leadership. These challenges were cited as the second- and third-biggest issues for 2015 by Hinge Marketing respondents. With many firms expecting changes in management, career training and leadership development are a primary focus in the upcoming months.
Compliance and Tax Regulations
Keeping up with industry regulations and tax laws is a global challenge among accountants and was rated as a high or very high pressure by 57 percent of the International Federation of Accountants survey respondents. In many countries, accountants must make changes to accommodate new regulations and standards, while firms in the United States face traditional accounting concerns regarding new deductions and law updates. Increased focus on career training may reduce compliance concerns in the future, but pressure continues to build in areas with developing financial sectors.
Technology and Modern Trends
Hinge Marketing lists technology as the fourth-most-pressing accounting concern for 2015. Security is a top priority, including secure data management, fraud prevention and measures to ensure client privacy, but keeping up with current trends and customer demands is just as important. Firms that offer electronic tax filing, cloud solutions, mobile tools or electronic billing features have an edge in today's competitive accounting industry. Experts expect to see a continuing trend of mergers and acquisitions, along with increased globalization among market leaders. Small-to-medium-size firms are likely to collaborate with other professionals to offer their clients a more diverse and comprehensive selection of services.
Firms continue to stress over common challenges for accountants, such as keeping up with regulations and tax laws, but changing demands, growing competition and evolving client expectations introduce new accounting concerns for 2015 and the future. A shift toward a more corporate-like business structure is likely if current trends within the industry continue.
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