The world of accounting and finance is in a constant state of evolution, driven by advancements in technology, changes in regulations, and shifts in business practices. As we approach the year 2024, it’s time to peer into the crystal ball and forecast the accounting and finance trends that lie ahead for the industry.
Surveying Finance Professionals: 2024 Outlook and Expectations
To gain a deeper understanding of the current state and future prospects of the accounting and finance industry, we conducted a comprehensive survey among 173 finance professionals in the field via LinkedIn. The results provide valuable insights into the industry’s sentiment and expectations for 2024.
“Looking ahead to the next year, how do you anticipate your company’s overall performance will be compared to the current year?”
Expecting significant growth: 46%
Stable performance expected: 31%
Expecting performance to decline: 13%
Uncertain about next year: 1%
The diverse range of responses in this survey highlights the complexity and dynamism of the accounting and finance industry in 2024. As we move forward, these insights serve as valuable markers to gauge the industry’s resilience, adaptability, and potential areas of concern, providing a foundation for informed decision-making and strategic planning in the year ahead.
The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential has long been a cornerstone of the accounting profession. However, the landscape is evolving, and 2024 will bring notable changes to the requirements and expectations for CPAs.1 As of 2024, the CPA exam will mirror a more technology-driven and data-centric approach, encompassing alterations to the credential’s structure, exam content, ongoing training demands, and expanded roles for CPAs.
Several key trends to watch for in 2024 include:
CPA Exam Evolution: The CPA exam is undergoing significant changes to better align with the skills and knowledge needed in the modern accounting world. Candidates can expect more emphasis on data analytics, technology, and critical thinking. The new model will encompass three Core Exam sections (AUD, FAR, REG), along with one of three Discipline Exam sections (BAR, ISC, TCP).
Continuous Learning: CPAs will need to stay current with the latest developments in accounting standards, regulations, and technological advancements. This could involve completing a certain number of continuing education credits each year or periodically re-taking parts of the CPA exam to demonstrate their updated knowledge. This shift reflects the need for accountants to stay current with the latest industry advancements.
Expanding Roles: In addition to their traditional roles in financial reporting and compliance, CPAs will increasingly take on advisory roles. They will be expected to provide strategic insights, financial planning, and decision support to businesses and clients. This broader scope of services will necessitate a more diverse skill set, including strong communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills.
Digital Transformation: The accounting profession is undergoing a digital transformation, and CPAs will need to adapt to these changes. Digital tools and platforms will play a crucial role in tasks such as audit, data analysis, and financial reporting. CPAs will need to acquire proficiency in using these tools effectively and efficiently. This may require specialized training in data analytics, cybersecurity, and software applications relevant to accounting.
The Impact of AI
In the realm of accounting, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to witness a staggering growth rate, projecting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 32.58% and reaching a market valuation of $11.0 billion over the next five years2. AI has been making inroads into the accounting and finance industry for several years, but its impact is set to become even more pronounced in 2024.
Here are some ways AI will shape the industry in 2024:
Automation of Repetitive Tasks: AI-driven software will continue to automate routine accounting tasks, such as data entry, reconciliation, and basic financial analysis, freeing up professionals to focus on higher-value activities.
Enhanced Decision-Making: AI algorithms can analyze vast datasets and provide valuable insights for financial decision-makers. This will help organizations make more informed choices about investments, risk management, and resource allocation.
Fraud Detection and Risk Management: AI-powered solutions will play a critical role in identifying potential financial fraud and managing risk within organizations.
Predictive Analytics: AI-driven predictive analytics will help businesses forecast financial trends, manage risk, and make data-driven decisions with greater precision.
Customer Service: Chatbots and virtual assistants will become more prevalent in handling customer inquiries and providing support, improving client service and satisfaction.
As we look ahead to 2024, the accounting and finance industry is on the cusp of transformation. Survey insights, CPA changes, and the impact of AI are just a few of the key factors shaping its future. Professionals in the field must embrace these changes, adapt to new technologies, and stay agile to thrive in this evolving landscape.
Whether you’re a seasoned CPA, a finance executive, or an aspiring accountant, staying informed and prepared for the upcoming trends will be essential for financial success beyond the ledger.
Do you have a plan in place to ensure your teams are prepared for the changes ahead? If not, we’re here to help! Contact us here to set up a conversation and let’s ensure your team is well-prepared for the future.