2022 trends for finance and accounting
Despite the uncertainty the global pandemic has brought, definite trends are emerging for the year ahead as the world adjusts to a new normal.
By Megan Breen
For accountants, the twists and turns of the past two years have brought not only challenges, but also opportunities.
Here are the top ones that all accounting and finance professionals should have on their radar.
Implications of climate change for accountants
The conversation on climate change is evolving rapidly, and with the announcement of the creation of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) at COP26 in Glasgow, the issue is of particular importance to the accounting and finance industry.
Sarah Barker, partner and head of climate risk governance at Minter Ellison, says the formation of the ISSB is a recognition by global standard setters that climate change presents significant challenges for reporting as usual.
“Climate change has moved from being considered an ‘ethical’ or non-financial issue to one that is widely recognized as presenting significant financial risks and opportunities,” Barker says.
“Accountants need to reconsider historical assumptions about key drivers of value and determine whether or not, in this contemporary risk environment, climate-related issues have a material impact on financial performance, financial condition and financial outlook. “
Barker expects this year to bring a deeper understanding of the important role accountants will have to play in dealing with the implications of climate change.
“They will need to understand what the risk factors are and their potential financial implications, whether physical risks to the natural or built environment. For example, changes in return rates from inland flooding – what impact will this have on real asset valuations?
“They also need to understand the risks associated with economic transition, especially the abrupt transition to net zero emissions in the global economy. For example, what impact might this have on the risk of stranded assets in industries with higher emissions? »
Evolution of technology
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology can provide tremendous opportunities for accountants, says Alan FitzGerald, founder of Practice Connections Advisory, an accounting technology consultancy.
“AI used to be the domain of big business due to the cost and resources required, but it has now democratized, with negligible cost compared to a few years ago,” says FitzGerald.
“The use of AI opens up opportunities to serve a much wider audience. Being able to easily access data helps accountants build and tell a better story to clients about their business by reducing the time previously required to collect and analyze this data,” he says.
“Many AI vendors now enable detailed analysis of customer ledgers for errant transactions or can review thousands of invoices to find potential anomalies, process millions of transaction lines as part of the audit process and more.”
This opens up possibilities for accountants to add new business advisory services, such as continuous auditing.
FitzGerald also predicts e-invoicing growth in 2022, highlighting the many benefits it offers, including significant cost savings.
“There are many benefits to helping customers switch to electronic invoicing, including reduced manual data entry, greater accuracy, faster payment times, reduced risk of fraud, scams and more.
“OTA [Australian Taxation Office] estimated that up to A$28 billion could be saved over 10 years by adopting e-invoicing systems – money that can be saved by anyone.
“The ATO estimates that between 30-50% per invoice processed on both sides of the ledger can be saved. Who wouldn’t want to do that?”
As Australia’s economy begins to recover, companies are showing more risk appetite, putting expansion back on the agenda, says Nicole Gorton, director at professional services recruitment specialist Robert Half.
“That means demand is growing for roles like financial control, forecast management, anyone working in data analytics and with strong assessment capabilities to support expansion,” Gorton says.
“Digital transformation is accelerating across all finance functions, and it’s a top priority for finance leaders. There is a demand for people with cloud and AI automation capabilities from a business perspective. As a result, we are seeing a 20% increase in salary expectations.”
Salaries are one aspect, but in order to retain and attract the best employees, employers need to consider a range of benefits as employees re-evaluate their career goals and seek a better work-life balance.
“People are looking for change, so you need to be able to show that you have strong health and wellness initiatives, diversity and inclusion strategies, and can offer career and professional development. .
“Candidates review 2-5 job postings, so companies are really going to have to market themselves to attract the best,” Gorton says.