The future of accounting is changing faster than most can keep up. So what will the future bring? Consolidation and more consulting and advisory services are part of the survival plan for those firms that want to succeed.This means bigger investment in professional development and a re-assessment of under-performing partners.
A recent articles in Forbes highlights the rapid changes ocuring in the accounting industry. One of the leading authorities in the accounting industry,Joseph Tarasco, president of Accountants Advisory Group, writing in Forbes magazine, shares his predictions and identifies critical trends:
- Fee pressures, rising staff labor costs, and lack of quality staff will force firms to carefully examine their mix of services, industry concentrations, and their positioning in their marketplace relative to their technical/consulting resources and competition. Industry, niche, and service segment profit centers will come under more pressure for better results as the competition stiffens.
- Firms will continue to acquire consulting and advisory companies that complement their traditional services to provide integrated solutions services to their clients.
- Career development and leadership training will continue to grow as the need for quality professional staff at the managerial and partner levels turns into a crisis mode. Firms will have no choice but to invest heavily in their best and brightest in all stages of their careers in order to remain competitive and develop succession plans.
- The firms who have grown through the consolidation of aging practices will begin to deal with intensified succession issues. This will fuel more mergers of mega-firms into larger firms.
- Consolidation of firms in the country will continue at a faster pace with the second tier firms, such as BDO and McGladrey, continuing their buying spree.
- Managing Partners and Executive Committee members will come under more scrutiny by their partners in their ability to lead and manage successfully. Firm management will have to make tough business decisions concerning under-performing partners.