With all the challenges brought about by COVID-19, we are all still adapting to this new normal. However, with all those major changes, there are some bright sides. And we can look forward to the opportunities created through change.
That being said, here are 6 trends for 2021 to watch and take advantage of. The good part, is that these trends are not necessarily new, so you may already be familiar with them. Yet, with all the workplace changes this past year, these trends will likely grow in importance due to organizations steps to maintain some order in all the chaos.
So here are the 6 trends to take advantage of:
- An increasing amount of automation;
- Remote work becoming the norm for finance teams;
- Environmental, social and governance reporting growing in importance;
- Finance professionals being held accountable for enterprise risk management;
- Diversity, equity and inclusion becoming more of a competitive differentiator, in addition to being the right thing to do; and,
- Increasing demand for upskilling and continuing education for professionals.
We all saw how quickly everyones work life balance shifted with the onset of COVD-19. In the wake of everything, we’ve seen remote work rapidly grow as a way to cope. Some offices have gone as far moving to entirely remote businesses, while others have maintained more of a hybrid model allowing both in office and at home work. These changes have lead to difficulties in quite a few areas. Implementing technology, facing climate, and diverse work places has been one of those challenges.
Staying with the times is important for organizations. In order to survive they require the automation and team cooperation tools, while making sure employees understand the protocols in place. CFOs and their organizations are required to maintain, and even continue to build, their balance sheets and their teams. All of these necessities are dependent on the company investing in the future, and meeting those investment goals which of course include accounting.
As more companies try to demonstrate how they are responding to climate change and social issues in response to investor demands for greater accountability, we’ve seen ESG reporting grow in popularity. With some of the standard-setters in this area, like the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and the International Integrated Reporting Council, merging together into a single organization that will be called the Value Reporting Foundation, Thomson sees value there. “There were so many organizations overlapping and overstepping each other, so that could bring some more clarity and consolidation to this,” said Thomson. “IMA has been calling for that for quite a long time.”
Accountants will also be dealing with enterprise risk management, along with ESG issues, as they cope with challenges like the impact of COVID-19 and other disasters on their organizations. This risk management helps organizations be more anticipatory of disasters going forward. While no one could have predicted the massive impact COVID-19 would have on the world, businesses can still take some proactive steps, such as building continuity plans, disaster recovery, and remote work policies.
More than ever, organizations are looking to expand their diversity, equity, and inclusion. These are extremely important characteristics that are essential for relevance. Along those lines, with the exponential growth of technology, we are seeing (and will continue to see) more of the lower-end jobs be automated away. But just like COVID, there are opportunities that arise from this change. We have to make sure to retrain, upskill, and diversify workers. All this actually provides leverage with the trend of automation and remote work in the ever changing market.
Looking forward to 2021, I hope we all can see opportunity and growth in the year ahead. Now is the time for the accounting profession to really grow and show its strength and resilience even through the most unexpected of events.
Source: Accounting Today