Change in Accountancy and Tax Profession Due to Covid-19
Since the Covid-19 pandemic started, it has forced different businesses across the world to conduct most of their business operations from home especially the accounting and tax functions. Therefore, today we will be looking at how Covid-19 has changed the tax and accounting industry. Many people across the world are patiently waiting for the world to return to “normal,” and to the way in which businesses operated before the pandemic. However, the reality is that we may never return to the old “normal.” While this may be devastating for some and alarming to others but in reality, it is a positive development for the tax and accounting industry going forward.
More Use of Technology
The increased use of technology by accountants in the provision of accounting services was already a trend before COVID-19, but the pandemic forced accountants and tax professionals, especially those that were working from home, to make the most of the latest technology at their disposal to carry out their respective tasks and duties. From using online software such as QuickBooks Online (a cloud-based accounting software) for carrying out routine tasks to conducting and attending virtual meetings with clients and other staff members through platforms such as Zoom rooms, accounting, and tax consulting firms, whether well-versed with regards to using the latest technology or not, were required to quickly adapt to the full-remote working environment that became the new norm due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is important to distinguish between “being digital” and “doing digital”. “Doing digital” basically means to use technology while “being digital” means using technology to digitalize existing processes and procedures. It’s critical that accounting and tax industry uses the latest technology not only to carry out tasks and duties but also to re-evaluate its existing procedures and processes. We need to invest our time and resources in using technology as a way to completely transform our business to be more efficient, effective, and to scale better.
Businesses that thrived during the COVID-19 were those who were aware of the latest technology and how it can be used for carrying out different business operations and functions. However, the businesses that will thrive even after the pandemic will be the ones that will continue to focus their efforts on new innovations through utilizing the latest available technology, such as, using the latest auditing tools to perform online financial audits.
Flexibility is Working Schedules
One lesson, the year 2020 has taught us that your ability to be flexible can be an asset for you in the long term. From more remote working opportunities being available to shifting away from the typical nine to five job timing, many businesses feel that it is in their interest to give their employees more leeway with regards to their working schedules. It looks like flexible work schedules will continue well after the COVID-19 pandemic. This is another one of those trends that began before the pandemic started and was significantly accelerated in the last year and a half. It is also a very important time for the accounting and tax profession to not only nurture talent that is currently available but also to attract potential new talent. The need of the time requires all the accounting and tax bodies, firms, and individuals to move together to achieve this progress, with clear as well as measurable milestones.
Affordable CFOs for SMEs
Where the COVID-19 has badly impacted a lot of businesses, at the same time it has also benefited a massive amount of small and medium-sized organizations by allowing them to hire affordable CFO services which were highly expensive before the pandemic.
The Crisis is the Breeding Ground for Innovation
It’s not only the accounting and tax industry that has innovated different processes and methods to achieve their goals and milestones throughout the COVID-19 pandemic but businesses irrespective of their scale and the industry in which they operate have used this crisis as an opportunity to innovate as well as to improve existing business processes, procedures, and methods. Businesses and individuals facing financial issues due to COVID-19 are considering different options to increase their income and cut down their expenditures so that they could survive this pandemic. Due to this, our knowledge and expertise are needed more than ever. From helping in adjusting business models to needing general insights and advice on managing financial health and staying financially resilient, we can help business entities in surviving through these difficult times. The need for advisory services is expected to increase more with every passing day and as a result, many firms and individuals are propelled further into providing advisory services to a wide range of businesses.
The recent past has been extremely difficult for everyone all across the world. Just as it’s important not to forget about difficult times, it’s also important to recognize the fact that how much we have evolved as a result of facing such difficult times. The accounting and tax industry can use lessons it learned from the pandemic and continue its journey on improving the accountancy profession in the coming years. This is our opportunity, to move our industry from being essential to being indispensable.