Navigating Changes in 2024

What is really going to be the biggest impact on the accounting world in 2024?

2023 ends with inflation, a relatively short list of tax law changes, and AI potentially taking all our jobs. So what will 2024 bring and how do accountants need to start adjusting now?

More change is coming this year. The already present factors like rising costs, staffing shortages, and the AI tech boom are all going to stay relevant factors in 2024 as accounting firms make decisions that they hope will lead them to future success. Top challenges plaguing firms haven’t changed that much with the top three being mostly too much work, not enough people to do them, and too many manual processes that firms have not taken the time to automate. Interestingly, despite many firms showing an interest in AI and potential automation, only a small percentage are actually taking action to make changes in the new year and beyond.

AI exploded in 2023 with accounting tech tools like ChatGPT’s Data Analysis, bookkeeping oversight and automation like Digits, and even tax software that now boasts built-in AI automation. Thomson Reuters announced at the end of 2023 an AI power tax research tool promising to enhance and support tax database research and knowledge.

Firms that are not looking to make changes for the new year are undoubtedly going to fall further behind. Technology upgrades and automation need to be front and center for everyone moving into a new busy season. Technology that includes automation and decreases manual processes is key to not only helping cut costs amid rising interest rates but also helps address the talent shortage.

Going into tax season, firms that have not reconsidered their approach to work-life balance are going to be digging themselves a deeper hole. Offering higher salaries is no longer the answer to keeping your people. Give them a work environment that’s too stressful and constantly burning them out, and it won’t matter how deep your pockets are, your best talent will find another way. Not only can technology and automation help to address this, but your team needs to see you taking steps towards a permanent solution to their constant state of overwork.

Instead of focusing on cost-cutting measures that cut staff and technology budgets and only exacerbate the problem, this year firms need to be considering more of a “work smarter not harder” approach. This is a multi-pronged effort that not only involves more investment in technology and training, but it also means taking a good look at your workload and figuring out where your jobs are profitable and where they are not. Scope creep happens on average to 90% of professional service providers, contributing tremendously to the feelings of overwhelm and budget constraints simultaneously. In the new year, we’re looking at potential scope creep as an opportunity to upsell clients, drive profit margins, and reinvest in our businesses!

Christine Gervais

Christine Gervais is a licensed CPA, using her skills to help businesses grow and achieve their fullest potential. Christine has a Master’s degree in accounting from Southern New Hampshire University in addition to holding her CPA license for over a decade. Notably, Christine is a nationally recognized speaker providing education to other CPAs on how to best serve clients as well as instruction on a wide variety of topics for business owners on how to maximize success. Christine prides herself on the value she can bring to clients with her extensive tax knowledge and provides strategic, forward-thinking financial strategies to help clients grow. When not behind her desk, you can find Christine spending quality time with her daughter and stepson or tending to the family’s excessively loved farm animals.

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