What CPAs need to know: Technology in 2018

Written on Dec 14, 2017

By Molly Ryan, content & community manager

Technology and its uses are constantly evolving. It feels like there is a constant race to improve technology’s speed, size and applications for personal and professional use.

In 2017 the big technology trends, according to Forbes, included things such as:

  • IoT (Internet of Things)
  • Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
  • Machine Learning
  • (Humanized) Big Data

These trends will surely continue, but accountants need to consider a few others when planning for 2018:

Big data

Tech1712The idea that anyone can use the unlimited amount of information available is clearly valuable to marketers and advertisers, but it can also be used to make airports more efficient, improve medical prognoses and, yes, help accountants.

Clients depend on accountants to provide sound advice, and now – in addition to financial reports – accountants and auditors can review company and consumer data to help inform big financial decisions. You can read more about big data here.

Machine learning

Accountants can save time, money and brainpower with a little automation. It’s expected to become even more of a mainstay in 2018, with processes we haven’t even thought of yet becoming automated. Here are some of the crazy things artificial intelligence is already doing, and this list will only continue to grow, with some experts saying it will be able to perform any intellectual task a human can perform by 2050.

For accountants, tasks such as expense auditing and payment processing all can be automated, which will help lower risks, and save time and money.

Advanced analytics

This goes hand in hand with big data, but with a larger emphasis on security. Analytics are already being used for insights and decision-making, but with more sophisticated data security software, experts expect it will be easier to spot issues that need attention more quickly. You can read more about it and other security trends here.


Blockchain, and specifically its currency, bitcoin, is expected to change banking for a wide number of industries in 2018 and we’re already starting to see that now. The technology is supposed to be far more secure than other banking methods and, therefore, can reduce fraud. If firms want to be ahead of the curve, they might want to create software parameters to allow for bitcoin transactions. Blockchain technology also can be used to streamline auditing and facilitate e-invoicing. You can read up on that here.

Cloud vs. edge computing

Cloud computing was all the rage a few years back, and it’s not going away, but complementing it is edge computing. Because of a 2017 trend, IoT, traffic to the cloud has risen substantially. Edge computing, which means literally data processing at the edge of the network, appears to be the solution. To dive into a rabbit hole explaining the various types of computing and how they can affect your organization, check out this breakdown from InfoWorld.

Essentially, the goal is to make sure computing processes continue to take place quickly, efficiently and securely, and edge computing allows for easier client workflow management and, ultimately, cost savings. You can read more about how here.

Overall, privacy and security will be the hot-button issues in 2018. Expect consumers to value companies and retailers who protect their personal information. Many of the other trends we’ve looked at also will play into these trends. Perhaps faults within your security will be detected through big data processes or an advanced look at your analytics, and then the process can be fixed through automation during future transactions.

No matter what, we know technological advances will not slow down in 2018 and we expect bigger changes in 2019.

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