P&N is heavily involved in the accounting profession, with team members serving at the local, state, and national level. Our professionals have chaired technical issues committees and state and local committees, and served on national standards boards. This commitment to the profession has helped us better serve our clients and their interests. Based on our involvement in the profession, as well as our extensive work with clients, we are seeing the following trends in the accounting industry.
Any change in Presidential Administration brings the likelihood of tax law and regulation changes. During the campaign, President-elect Trump outlined a number of tax proposals for individuals and businesses. While candidates proposals can change after they take office, goals of President-elect Trump’s included tax relief for the middle class, simplifying the tax code, growing the American economy, and not increasing the deficit, among other things. The actual impacts to businesses and individuals will evolve over time, but monitoring and responding to these changes will continue to be a focus for the accounting industry.
In an ever-changing business landscape, organizations are looking for service providers who can help them navigate the clouded path of confusing technology, complex regulations and constantly evolving practices. And they also need a firm focused on their bottom line. CPA firms who offer a diverse set of services aimed at solving complex challenges have the ability to help clients streamline their service providers. A big trend is for CPA firms to diversify their service offerings in areas such as technology and security, financial analysis and advisory, business and operational consulting, human resources consulting, and other areas that impact the whole organization. It’s a clearer path for compliance, risk and strategy, based on the client’s individual needs.
In the past, tax has been considered primarily from a compliance perspective. With increased globalization, businesses are focusing more heavily on tax strategy. Compliance will always be critical, but the need for strategic tax planning is just as critical. Businesses need to consider how to integrate a multi-state and international tax strategy to ensure compliance and efficiencies. Additionally, we are seeing an increased focus on general tax planning, including the areas of charitable strategies, estate planning and financial planning.
Technology will always be a trend. While technology is often specific to industries, a general trend is to utilize technology to do two things: increase efficiencies and improve security. Businesses are increasing efficiencies through outsourcing accounting services through cloud-based tools which provide sophisticated reporting and processes while maintaining compliance and strategy. Businesses are also utilizing custom applications to link existing financial and operational systems to access better, more real-time reporting. Finally, security of data and systems is a huge focus. The financial, operational, and reputational risks are simply too high for organizations and individuals to ignore cyber security. It’s a very real threat.