7 Changes Accountants Should Watch Out For in 2021

7 Changes Accountants Should Watch Out For in 2020

It won’t come as a shock to know that the major changes expected for the accounting industry in 2021 are related to technology. So, what changes can you expect in 2021?

What might surprise you is that 67% of accountants feel the profession is more competitive today than ever before. Plus, 83% said that their clients are demanding more from them than 5 years ago.

These numbers mean that accountants are going to have to provide even more value to their clients in order to stay ahead of the game in the future. Embracing some of the upcoming trends will help you become more competitive as we shift into a new decade in 2020. 

Here are 7 ways that accounting is expected to change in 2021.

1. Automation

Accountants are used to this trend by now. Automation is here to stay and will only gain popularity in 2021. It eliminates data entry tasks for accountants and lets them focus on analysing data instead. 

About  86% of tasks in accounting can be automated, such as bill payments and journal entries. Automation technology also ends up with a great return on investment and can pay for itself in as little as 6 months!

Auditors arguably have the most to gain with automation. A lot of their manual work revolves around document retrieval and verifying the accuracy of transactions. 

Automation can eliminate almost all of that and highlight risky transactions. Auditors can provide a better picture of business behaviour and conduct a more thorough audit with the use of automation.

2. Analytical Focus

Analytical Focus

Automation causes a serious shift in what accountants are expected to do in their roles. Digital technology continues to make record-keeping and data entry easier and more accurate. Now, businesses want accountants to provide valuable insights using analysis.

Accountants have access to more reliable information than ever before. As we move into 2021, the industry will continue to use analytical tools to evaluate past performance. 

Going forward, accountants will be asked for more predictive analysis to gauge future financial figures. Business leaders want to know how to best achieve their short- and long-term goals.

The analysis that accountants can provide using the new, robust data can help business leaders and investors understand the financial health of the organisation.

With the focus shifting to analysis over data-entry, accountants can add value to companies by offering consulting services. For example, accountants may not be used to enter invoices anymore. But they may be able to evaluate ways to save on material costs or eliminate unnecessary expenses.

Instead of being used for their manual data entry, accountants can establish themselves as trusted business advisors with creative, forward-thinking ideas.

3. Cloud Accounting

Over  75% of small businesses will exclusively use cloud technology for their operations by 2020. Cloud-based accounting systems are much more affordable than other options, which make them ideal for small and mid-sized businesses.

Some businesses are still wary of using cloud technology. The truth is, most businesses are already using cloud technology without thinking twice about it. Email and document storage are some common ways that cloud technology has become a normal part of business processes.

Accountants can help improve the industry by embracing cloud-based accounting systems. Using the cloud lets you access information from anywhere at any time because transactions are stored electronically. 

It keeps on-site storage needs to a minimum which can save the company money. However, businesses with large amounts of data may still need to store data on-site, but that could change as cloud technology evolves.


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4. Paperless Record-keeping

Paperless Record-keeping - cloud storage

One of the biggest changes that accountants can expect in 2021 and the next decade is paperless records. Cloud-based accounting software and automation eliminate a lot of paperwork that travels through accounting departments.

Invoice automation and electronic document approvals mean less need for paper. Plus, cloud-based accounting software will store documents and transactions electronically.

Paperless systems free up real estate in accounting departments. The days of large rooms filled wall-to-wall with filing cabinets of invoices and journal entries is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

5. Outsourcing

Having an entire accounting department can be costly. It can be especially difficult for new or smaller businesses. That’s why we’re seeing outsourcing as a trend in 2021 and beyond.

Aside from reducing costs, outsourcing allows smaller businesses to stay focused on their main operations.

Then, when they need certain financial information or reporting, they can simply ask their external accountant.

6. Social Media

Social Media

It’s no surprise that social media has worked its way into every industry. Accounting firms are finding it especially useful to connect with and advertise to prospective clients. 

Advertising on social media isn’t a new trend, but accountants should expect to use it a lot more in 2021. Using social media can positively drive publicity for accounting firms and help showcase their expertise. Being consistently active on social media can put accounting firms in front of their clients more frequently. 

Social media also helps accounting firms attract new talent. If they’ve positioned themselves as a great place to work and advertised open positions, talented accountants may seek them out on their next job hunt.  

7. Blockchain

Blockchain is best known as the technology that supports cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. However, accountants can expect to see it in their everyday lives starting in the next decade. It reduces manual entry while increasing accuracy and security for accounting departments. 

Blockchain provides a higher quality of data and records transactions very efficiently. The most appealing feature is that it is almost impossible to alter information after it has been recorded. This makes blockchain extremely reliable and accurate.

Blockchain technology also allows several sources to view information at the same time. Everyone can see changes as soon as they’re validated.


The changes coming to the accounting industry in 2021 and the new decade mostly revolve around technology. It’s no wonder why! Digital technology is creating a new way of doing things for accounting.

Soon, accounting departments will be almost entirely paperless. Plus, automation will create more efficient processes while blockchain increases security and accuracy. 

These changes are exciting- it means accountants can face new challenges, provide more insightful reporting, and paint a better picture of financial health for their companies.

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Topics: Accounting