[IMGCAP(1)]It’s hard to have a conversation about the future of the accounting industry and avoid the topic of technology.

Mentions of the “firm of the future” are everywhere and, regardless of the source, technology is consistently ranked among the top three inevitable changes to the industry.

One of the main reasons technology has been a topic at the forefront of the industry is because business as a whole has been making a leap forward in technology solutions. Accountants serve as experts in various businesses and industries and have needed to evolve with those whom they are serving.

In a recent study by Deloitte, 48 percent of mid-market executives indicated their company’s leadership views technology as a “critical” differentiator and key to growth, an increase from 41 percent last year. Deloitte also found 46 percent of mid-market executives are “actively engaged in the adoption of next generation technologies,” while 33 percent say their executives are “leading the charge.”

Accountants see the importance of adopting technology to serve their clients as trusted business advisors. Providing insight to clients by using big data technology solutions gives accountants the value-added edge to differentiate their firm from other firms.

A recent AICPA poll found 47 percent of accountants identify themselves as a “late majority” or “laggard” on the technology-adoption curve. With this in mind, accountants have an opportunity to gain market share quickly by adopting technology solutions that allow them to differentiate. By positioning a firm as an industry expert with the help of big data solutions and other technologies, accountants can capitalize on gaining today’s progressive clients who are looking for value-added insight.

It is no secret that compliance engagements have become commoditized, competing on price alone. Technology solutions can provide firms with a gateway to more profitable consulting engagements and help scale their engagements as the firm grows.

Zach Meyer is a consultant at the financial information company Sageworks.

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