Accounting Today releases its annual report on The Year Ahead: 2023 in Accounting — Building a foundation for the future

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The report examines the growth strategies, service offering plans, practice management goals and major challenges over the next 12 months of a representative range of accounting and CPA firms.

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“Accountants pride themselves as being their clients’ trusted advisors, but the core of their work has often been compliance. With tech commoditizing compliance work, firms are emphasizing advisory services, which offer more value to clients and tend to be more profitable for firms."

A new research report from Arizent, the parent company of Accounting Today, sponsored by Zoho, a web-based business technology company, explores the steps that CPA firms plan to take as they look ahead to the next 12 months to lay a foundation for continued success in 2023 and beyond. Among the key findings, the surveys reveal that a rise of Client Accounting Services (CAS) over compliance services is creating new growth opportunities.

Disruptive technology, regulatory revolutions and evolving client expectations are radically changing how accounting firms are offering their services. On top of that, rising inflation and an impending recession are shaping a challenging future for the accounting profession. But Arizent’s research found optimism in the sector, with firms of all sizes expecting a continued recovery from the drop in growth during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 47% of firms project growth at 6% or higher in comparison to 41% last year. Only 12% predict flat or declining growth, versus 15% of last year.

Another revealing statistic is that half of firms expect to spend more time on advisory services in 2023. Additionally, despite the fact that new technologies are automating compliance work, a quarter (24%) of firms expect their compliance work to increase. Where they hope to make up the time is through cutting back on administrative work, via measures such as streamlining onboarding and using technology to automate data transfers.

"Accountants pride themselves as being their clients’ trusted advisors, but the core of their work has often been compliance," says Dan Hood, Editor-in-Chief at Accounting Today. "With tech commoditizing compliance work, firms are emphasizing advisory services, which offer more value to clients and tend to be more profitable for firms.”

42% of participant firms already offer Client Accounting Services while 7% reported that they plan on offering them in the near future. With regards to services, Arizent’s research found that firms most often offer payroll, nonprofit and CAS services today.

“Payroll and nonprofit services are largely compliance-based and have long been staples of the accounting profession,” says Hood. “With CAS being relatively new, having grown to prominence only in the last five years or so, the fact that it’s in the top three services offered perfectly reflects the growth of more consultative services, as the definition morphs from Client Accounting Services to Client Advisory Services.”

Additional coverage about client accounting services can be read here.

The full research report can be downloaded here.

Research background/Methodology

This online research was conducted between September 22 and September 23, 2022. 340 accounting professionals completed this year’s survey. Previous-year comparison figures are drawn from Accounting Today’s 2021 Year Ahead survey. 66% of respondents belonged to a CPA firm, 16% with a non-CPA accounting firm, 13% with a tax-only firm and 6% with a non-accounting firm.

For more information on this survey or other Arizent research, contact:
Janet King
Vice President, Research
Arizent
janet.king@arizent.com
207-807-4806

About Arizent
Arizent is a business information company that advances professional communities by providing insights and analysis and convening industry leaders. The company uses deep industry expertise and a data-driven platform to deliver its services, which include subscriptions, marketing services, live events and access to Leaders, an executive forum. Arizent also connects business communities through leading financial services brands like American Banker, The Bond Buyer, Financial Planning and National Mortgage News, as well as professional services brands like Accounting Today, Employee Benefit News and Digital Insurance.

About Accounting Today
Accounting Today is the leading information resource for public accountants – serving the community of professionals who provide tax preparation, bookkeeping, auditing, financial planning, and business advisory and consulting services to individuals and small businesses. Accounting Today is sharply focused on the industry’s most important concerns, including tax law, accounting standards, technology, audit and assurance, and wealth management. Its analysis and breaking news, opinion and expert advice, and practical business-building ideas enable partners, principals and practitioners to make informed decisions about their business and the clients they serve.

About Zoho
With 55+ apps in nearly every major business category, Zoho Corporation is one of the world's most prolific technology companies. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with international headquarters in Chennai, India, Zoho is privately held and profitable with more than 12,000 employees. For more information, please visit: http://www.zoho.com

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Janet King
Arizent
212-803-8500
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