Intuit is forecasting increased demand for accountants who can provide financial information to their small business clients anytime and anywhere through the use of remote technology.

Intuit’s 2013 Future of Accountancy Report examines the demographic, social, economic and technology shifts that the QuickBooks developer anticipates will shape the accounting profession over the next decade. The report was prepared by Emergent Research in partnership with Intuit and 37 influencers in the accounting profession from around the world. The report provides an update to an earlier report, Intuit 2020: Future of the Accounting Profession, which was released in 2011.

“To best serve their clients, accounting professionals need to embrace new technologies quickly, understand the best way to incorporate those technologies into the small business process and proactively guide their clients through to full adoption,” said Jill Ward, senior vice president and general manager of Intuit’s Accountant and Advisor Group, in a statement. “As an industry, we must take the lead and be out in front of the coming changes. With increased competition, technology advances, globalization and demographic shifts, trust will remain paramount in the relationship between accounting professionals and the clients they serve. The trends happening within the industry provide several opportunities for accountants to deliver the service their clients expect and demand. Intuit will continue to partner with accounting professionals, helping them save time, grow their practice and thrive in this rapidly changing environment.”

The report predicts a number of trends that will affect the accounting profession, including in the global business environment.  The report forecasts that accounting professionals will see new and increased competition as banks, other financial services companies, software, Internet firms, and government agencies offer accounting and tax-related products and services. As a result, the demand for accounting professionals to master new skills, knowledge and standards will intensify.

Online, mobile, social technologies also will have a larger impact on the profession, according to the report. Smartphones, tablets, notebooks and other mobile computing devices will become the main tools for accounting professionals to practice greater flexibility in their careers and life. Cloud services will allow them to provide real-time customer support; and accounting firms can use tools to provide an “appified” experience and provide clients with an “accountant in their pocket.” At the same time, firms and professionals who use online content to help build their brand by demonstrating experience, domain knowledge and thought leadership will be at a competitive advantage.

The report also points to the demographic shifts underway in the profession as younger people with technology know-how join the ranks. Gen Y, or Millennials, will look for careers that provide work/life balance and flexibility. As they start their own businesses, they may be more inclined than their Baby Boomer counterparts to outsource certain factors of financial management, including payroll, health care benefits programs and compliance.

“Small businesses are facing a massive shift in technology, and they must adopt these technologies into their business processes to compete effectively over the next decade,” said Joe Woodard, founder of Woodard Consulting Group and host of the QuickBooks-focused accounting conference Scaling New Heights.

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