Latest News

What to expect for accounting in 2019

Written on Jan 2, 2019

By Rebecca Kerr, OSCPA communications intern

As 2019 begins, the accounting profession can count on one thing: change.

Amber McAuliffe“The players are changing,” said Amber McAuliffe, CPA, manager of accounting learning at OSCPA. “Meaning, who is performing the services as well as the 'what' and 'how.' This is being driven by technology, significant generations retiring and succession out of the industry, as well as consolidations and mergers. Firms are diversifying their services through non-traditional acquisitions,”

McAuliffe said a crucial trend to watch is the rate of change in the business environment -- not to mention the rate at which accountants must change to keep pace.

Accounting Today recently interviewed accounting professionals and leaders for their take on trends expected in 2019. Some highlights:

  • “Artificial intelligence and machine learning is here and it’s working. Be ready to automate all your bookkeeping and bank reconciliations.”
  • “More and more mergers and acquisitions with different types of professionals/firms”
  • “Changes in the political landscape continue to impact how we operate as a profession.The Tax Reform Bill changed the Tax Code which prompted us to interpret the new code sections and educate our clients.”

McAuliffe agreed on the first point, and said she thinks the most surprising developments for accountants in 2019 will hinge on robotic process automation and artificial intelligence.

“This technology is still a buzzword, but there are a number of firms and corporations that are experimenting and implementing RPA in their processes,” she said.

According to the survey, the most surprising thing for accountants in the coming year will be:

  • “How busy they are, while at the same time continuously hearing how the audit is less relevant. The balancing act of getting through today and planning for tomorrow just gets riskier.”
  • “The continual increase in hiring talent that are not accountants by degree and certainly aren’t CPAs.”
  • “Accounting firms are hiring fewer accounting majors and more non-accounting majors, which means we need to learn skills outside of technical accounting to keep up with professionals who demonstrate other competencies.”

Do you agree with these 2019 accounting predictions? If not, what do you think will be some of the top trends or surprises in accounting this upcoming year?  Let us know in the comments!