Whatever their fears, the perpetual advancement of technology will not replace accountants, but it will force them to change significantly, according to Jason Marx, president and CEO of Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting.
“Accountants have to think a lot more about adaptation than replacement,” Marx told attendees of the company’s annual user conference, being held this week in Austin, Texas. “The technology improves efficiency by removing manual steps and reducing human error. It promotes straight-through processing, rather than replacing accountants, and it frees them to focus on more strategic work that requires creativity, collaboration and imagination. »
This is of course only true if they take advantage of the tools at their disposal: Marx compared a 2019 Robert Half survey in which accountants overwhelmingly said they were concerned about the potential of technology with a study from Wolters Kluwer of 2021 which showed that only 7% of small businesses — and only an astonishing 2% of large businesses — believe they are maximizing their use of technology.
He believes, however, that tax and accounting professionals are more than up to the challenge. “You are part of a profession that has proven its courage, determination and resilience time and time again,” he told conference attendees. “You have served as a silent hero behind the scenes to keep businesses running during very, very difficult times. You have balanced the implications of new tax regulations, accelerating market trends for technology and mobility, a veritable war for talent, and urgent customer demands around the clock.”
To help them understand and tackle all these challenges, he explained five major market trends that are shaping accounting that they will need to keep in mind as they move forward.