Skip to Content
OpenStax Logo
Introduction to Business

14.8 Trends in Accounting

Introduction to Business14.8 Trends in Accounting
Buy book
  1. Preface
  2. 1 Understanding Economic Systems and Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 1.1 The Nature of Business
    3. 1.2 Understanding the Business Environment
    4. 1.3 How Business and Economics Work
    5. 1.4 Macroeconomics: The Big Picture
    6. 1.5 Achieving Macroeconomic Goals
    7. 1.6 Microeconomics: Zeroing in on Businesses and Consumers
    8. 1.7 Competing in a Free Market
    9. 1.8 Trends in the Business Environment and Competition
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  3. 2 Making Ethical Decisions and Managing a Socially Responsible Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 2.1 Understanding Business Ethics
    3. 2.2 How Organizations Influence Ethical Conduct
    4. 2.3 Managing a Socially Responsible Business
    5. 2.4 Responsibilities to Stakeholders
    6. 2.5 Trends in Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    9. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    10. Ethics Activity
    11. Working the Net
    12. Critical Thinking Case
    13. Hot Links Address Book
  4. 3 Competing in the Global Marketplace
    1. Introduction
    2. 3.1 Global Trade in the United States
    3. 3.2 Why Nations Trade
    4. 3.3 Barriers to Trade
    5. 3.4 Fostering Global Trade
    6. 3.5 International Economic Communities
    7. 3.6 Participating in the Global Marketplace
    8. 3.7 Threats and Opportunities in the Global Marketplace
    9. 3.8 The Impact of Multinational Corporations
    10. 3.9 Trends in Global Competition
    11. Key Terms
    12. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    13. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    14. Ethics Activity
    15. Working the Net
    16. Critical Thinking Case
    17. Hot Links Address Book
  5. 4 Forms of Business Ownership
    1. Introduction
    2. 4.1 Going It Alone: Sole Proprietorships
    3. 4.2 Partnerships: Sharing the Load
    4. 4.3 Corporations: Limiting Your Liability
    5. 4.4 Specialized Forms of Business Organization
    6. 4.5 Franchising: A Popular Trend
    7. 4.6 Mergers and Acquisitions
    8. 4.7 Trends in Business Ownership
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    11. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    12. Ethics Activity
    13. Working the Net
    14. Critical Thinking Case
    15. Hot Links Address Book
  6. 5 Entrepreneurship: Starting and Managing Your Own Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 5.1 Entrepreneurship Today
    3. 5.2 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs
    4. 5.3 Small Business: Driving America's Growth
    5. 5.4 Ready, Set, Start Your Own Business
    6. 5.5 Managing a Small Business
    7. 5.6 Small Business, Large Impact
    8. 5.7 The Small Business Administration
    9. 5.8 Trends in Entrepreneurship and Small-Business Ownership
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  7. 6 Management and Leadership in Today's Organizations
    1. Introduction
    2. 6.1 The Role of Management
    3. 6.2 Planning
    4. 6.3 Organizing
    5. 6.4 Leading, Guiding, and Motivating Others
    6. 6.5 Controlling
    7. 6.6 Managerial Roles
    8. 6.7 Managerial Skills
    9. 6.8 Trends in Management and Leadership
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  8. 7 Designing Organizational Structures
    1. Introduction
    2. 7.1 Building Organizational Structures
    3. 7.2 Contemporary Structures
    4. 7.3 Using Teams to Enhance Motivation and Performance
    5. 7.4 Authority—Establishing Organizational Relationships
    6. 7.5 Degree of Centralization
    7. 7.6 Organizational Design Considerations
    8. 7.7 The Informal Organization
    9. 7.8 Trends in Organizational Structure
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  9. 8 Managing Human Resources and Labor Relations
    1. Introduction
    2. 8.1 Achieving High Performance through Human Resources Management
    3. 8.2 Employee Recruitment
    4. 8.3 Employee Selection
    5. 8.4 Employee Training and Development
    6. 8.5 Performance Planning and Evaluation
    7. 8.6 Employee Compensation and Benefits
    8. 8.7 The Labor Relations Process
    9. 8.8 Managing Grievances and Conflicts
    10. 8.9 Legal Environment of Human Resources and Labor Relations
    11. 8.10 Trends in Human Resource Management and Labor Relations
    12. Key Terms
    13. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    14. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    15. Ethics Activity
    16. Working the Net
    17. Critical Thinking Case
    18. Hot Links Address Book
  10. 9 Motivating Employees
    1. Introduction
    2. 9.1 Early Theories of Motivation
    3. 9.2 The Hawthorne Studies
    4. 9.3 Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
    5. 9.4 McGregor's Theories X and Y
    6. 9.5 Herzberg's Motivator-Hygiene Theory
    7. 9.6 Contemporary Views on Motivation
    8. 9.7 From Motivation Theory to Application
    9. 9.8 Trends in Employee Motivation
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  11. 10 Achieving World-Class Operations Management
    1. Introduction
    2. 10.1 Production and Operations Management—An Overview
    3. 10.2 The Production Process: How Do We Make It?
    4. 10.3 Location, Location, Location: Where Do We Make It?
    5. 10.4 Pulling It Together: Resource Planning
    6. 10.5 Production and Operations Control
    7. 10.6 Looking for a Better Way: Improving Production and Operations
    8. 10.7 Transforming the Factory Floor with Technology
    9. 10.8 Trends in Production and Operations Management
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  12. 11 Creating Products and Pricing Strategies to Meet Customers' Needs
    1. Introduction
    2. 11.1 The Marketing Concept
    3. 11.2 Creating a Marketing Strategy
    4. 11.3 Developing a Marketing Mix
    5. 11.4 Buyer Behavior
    6. 11.5 Market Segmentation
    7. 11.6 What Is a Product?
    8. 11.7 Creating Products That Deliver Value
    9. 11.8 The Product Life Cycle
    10. 11.9 Pricing Strategies and Future Trends
    11. 11.10 Trends in Developing Products and Pricing
    12. Key Terms
    13. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    14. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    15. Ethics Activity
    16. Working the Net
    17. Critical Thinking Case
    18. Hot Links Address Book
  13. 12 Distributing and Promoting Products and Services
    1. Introduction
    2. 12.1 The Nature and Functions of Distribution (Place)
    3. 12.2 Wholesaling
    4. 12.3 The Competitive World of Retailing
    5. 12.4 Using Supply Chain Management to Increase Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction
    6. 12.5 Promotion Strategy
    7. 12.6 The Huge Impact of Advertising
    8. 12.7 The Importance of Personal Selling
    9. 12.8 Sales Promotion
    10. 12.9 Public Relations Helps Build Goodwill
    11. 12.10 Trends in Social Media
    12. 12.11 Trends in E-Commerce
    13. Key Terms
    14. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    15. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    16. Ethics Activity
    17. Working the Net
    18. Critical Thinking Case
    19. Hot Links Address Book
  14. 13 Using Technology to Manage Information
    1. Introduction
    2. 13.1 Transforming Businesses through Information
    3. 13.2 Linking Up: Computer Networks
    4. 13.3 Management Information Systems
    5. 13.4 Technology Management and Planning
    6. 13.5 Protecting Computers and Information
    7. 13.6 Trends in Information Technology
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    11. Ethics Activity
    12. Working the Net
    13. Critical Thinking Case
    14. Hot Links Address Book
  15. 14 Using Financial Information and Accounting
    1. Introduction
    2. 14.1 Accounting: More than Numbers
    3. 14.2 The Accounting Profession
    4. 14.3 Basic Accounting Procedures
    5. 14.4 The Balance Sheet
    6. 14.5 The Income Statement
    7. 14.6 The Statement of Cash Flows
    8. 14.7 Analyzing Financial Statements
    9. 14.8 Trends in Accounting
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  16. 15 Understanding Money and Financial Institutions
    1. Introduction
    2. 15.1 Show Me the Money
    3. 15.2 The Federal Reserve System
    4. 15.3 U.S. Financial Institutions
    5. 15.4 Insuring Bank Deposits
    6. 15.5 International Banking
    7. 15.6 Trends in Financial Institutions
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    11. Ethics Activity
    12. Working the Net
    13. Critical Thinking Case
    14. Hot Links Address Book
  17. 16 Understanding Financial Management and Securities Markets
    1. Introduction
    2. 16.1 The Role of Finance and the Financial Manager
    3. 16.2 How Organizations Use Funds
    4. 16.3 Obtaining Short-Term Financing
    5. 16.4 Raising Long-Term Financing
    6. 16.5 Equity Financing
    7. 16.6 Securities Markets
    8. 16.7 Buying and Selling at Securities Exchanges
    9. 16.8 Trends in Financial Management and Securities Markets
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  18. 17 Your Career in Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 17.1 Learn the Basics of Business
    3. 17.2 Developing Interpersonal Skills Is Key to Your Success
    4. 17.3 Make Your Future Happen: Learn to Plan
    5. 17.4 Going to College Is an Opportunity of a Lifetime—Never Drop Out
    6. 17.5 Get Your Career Off on the Right Track
    7. 17.6 Self-Test Scoring Guidelines
  19. A | Understanding the Legal and Tax Environment
  20. Index
  21. References
  1. What major trends affect the accounting industry today?

The post-SOX business environment has brought many changes to the accounting profession. When the public accounting industry could no longer regulate itself back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it became subject to formal regulation for the first time. This regulatory environment set higher standards for audit procedures, which actually helped public companies fine-tune their financial reporting procedures, despite the added costs and labor hours needed to comply with SOX. Once again the core auditing business, rather than financial advisory and management consulting services, became the primary focus of public accounting firms. The relationship between accountants and their clients has also changed, and the role of chief audit executive has taken on more visibility in many large organizations. In addition, the FASB has made slow but steady progress in making changes related to GAAP, including a separate decision-making framework for users and preparers of private company financial statements.8 There are several other important trends that may affect the accounting industry over the next several years, including cloud computing services, automation, and staffing challenges.

Cloud-Based Services

The internet and cloud technology continue to disrupt many industries, including accounting, and clients expect their accountants to be up to speed on how financial data and other accounting information can be entered, accessed, and discussed in a very short period of time. For the most part, gone are the days when accountants and their support staff spend hours manually inputting data that gets “re-hydrated” into standardized accounting and financial statements, and reams of paper generate a company’s weekly, monthly, or yearly reports.

According to recent research, cloud-based accounting firms add five times more clients than traditional accounting firms because businesses expect their accountants to be able to use technology to create the company’s financial picture in real time, while assisting them in decision-making about where to go next in terms of profitability, sales, expansion, etc. In addition, it is estimated that more than 90 percent of small and medium-sized companies use cloud-based accounting software, which helps them synthesize the information they collect for their many important financial statements. This use of computerized accounting programs offers many opportunities to accountants to shift their focus when it comes to attracting and retaining business clients.9

Automation

In addition to cloud-based services, automation will continue to play an important role in the accounting industry, particularly in auditing services, where the manual gathering and inputting of information can be an inefficient and sometimes inaccurate process. Being able to automate this process will help generate complete sets of data that will improve the overall details of the auditing process. In addition, accountants who can use a client’s data files from their business operations and import this information into a tax or accounting software package will streamline the overall accounting process and lessen the tedious work of data entry.10

Staffing Challenges

As these and other disruptive technologies change the focus of accounting work, the challenge of hiring the right staff to use these new tools intensifies. With accounting processes becoming automated and less time-intensive, some accounting firms are becoming more connected to their clients and increasing their advisory services when it comes to daily business operations. This change in approach will likely have an impact on the type of experienced employees accountants hire in the future. In addition, because most services are now cloud-based and financial data is available rather quickly, businesses are apt to change accounting firms faster than in the past if they are unsatisfied with the services they receive. Accountants have a great opportunity to expand their business portfolios and increase their client list by leveraging technology as part of their overall corporate strategies.11

Managing Change

Attracting and Retaining Millennial CPAs

Much has been written about millennials, the population segment born between 1980 and 2000. As the older baby boomer generation continues to retire, millennials now make up the largest group in the U.S. labor force. This group will continue to shape the workplace over the next few decades.

Businesses and other organizations cannot ignore this group and their expectations about employment. To be successful, today’s accounting firms—whether Big 4 firms or small and mid-sized businesses—need to understand what makes millennials tick, what is important to them, what makes them look for new opportunities both within and outside the organization—and how to retain them.

Global accounting services company PwC recently partnered with several other institutions to conduct a two-year generational study about the attitudes of millennial employees. Key findings suggest that millennials want flexibility in their work lives that leads to an enjoyable work-life balance, appreciation for the work they accomplish, challenges that will help them grow in their careers, and continued support from employers. As a result of this study, PwC made several changes to its own work environment to attract and retain millennial workers, including flexible schedules, relaxed dress codes, greater communication at all levels of the company, and a renewed commitment to transparency within the organization.

PwC is not alone in shifting its organizational culture to address some of the issues millennials say are important factors for them within the work environment. For example, Baker Tilly, another top accounting firm, recognizes that more than half its workforce consists of millennials who have helped shape the company’s approach to work. The themes of flexibility and trust permeate the company’s culture, which reinforces employees’ motivation to be engaged in work that is meaningful, satisfying, and helps them develop as individuals.

Here are some other strategies accounting firms might employ to keep their 30-something employees from jumping ship:

  • Initiate onboarding activities quickly: Although training accounting professionals takes time, companies should engage and train new employees quickly to immerse them in organizational culture and assign them work they view as meaningful.
  • Assign mentors from the start: Millennials want to know their work makes a difference, so what better way to get them involved right from the start than to make sure they are connected to mentors who can guide their work and career path.
  • Support a flexible approach to work: Some millennials are in the prime of their career, and many may also be juggling a family life that requires a lot of their time. Companies need to remember that millennials like being productive, although they may not think a long workday equates to a productive one. The use of cloud-based technology encourages employees to do their work in a productive atmosphere that may not take place in the office.

Recognizing generational traits of millennials not only demonstrates commitment on the part of the company, but also helps keep these employees engaged and involved in their work.

Critical Thinking Questions
  1. Do you think a shift in thinking when it comes to managing millennials is a smart strategy? Why or why not?
  2. Will accounting firms be required to rethink their billing strategies to address millennials’ insistence on a more flexible approach to work? Explain your reasoning.

Sources: “Workforce of the Future: The Competing Forces Shaping 2030,” https://www.pwc.com, accessed August 11, 2017; Hitendra Patil, “The 7 Experiences Millennials Want from Your Firm,” http://www.cpatrendlines.com, accessed August 11, 2017; “Millennial Accountants Don’t Want a Corner Office with a View,” https://www.rogercpareview.com, April 24, 2017; David Isaacs, “Voices: Confessions of a Millennial CPA: The Most Productive Generation,” https://www.accountingtoday.com, April 20, 2017; Teri Saylor, “How CPA Firms Are Evolving to Meet Millennials’ Desires,” http://www.journalofaccountancy.com, March 6, 2017.

Concept Check

  1. How has the relationship between public accounting firms and their clients changed since SOX became law?
  2. Describe how cloud computing and automation are changing the accounting industry.
  3. What are some of the challenges encountered by accounting firms when introducing new technologies into their workflow process?
Citation/Attribution

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book is Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/introduction-business/pages/1-introduction
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/introduction-business/pages/1-introduction
Citation information

© Sep 19, 2018 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 license. The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.