Accountex 2023 – Where is the profession heading next?

Thousands of accountants from across the UK and overseas recently visited London for Accountex – a two-day show highlighting the key developments within the industry and the technology behind it.

Lyndsay Hardwick, Business Innovation Director at Milsted Langdon and the firm’s Partner and Head of Business Innovation, Sarah Jenkins, were among them and have highlighted their key developments from the show that are likely to guide the future direction of accounting.

Sarah and Lyndsay said: “Whilst speaking with software vendors we got to see various software demos and learn about product developments plus have a look at insights into their product roadmaps of what is to come in the future.

“However, the show is more than just accounting technology and there were some key themes that emerged time and time again, which firms – and those who use their services – need to take account of.”

Here are Sarah and Lyndsay’s three key takeaways from Accountex 2023:

ESG – “This was big on the agenda as ESG issues are becoming an increasingly important part of accounting. There is increasing pressure on large businesses to report meaningful ESG information and there is now various tech available to assist with this.

“Accountex itself has teamed up with Carma to work towards mitigating their carbon footprint. Carma has pledged to plant a tree for every attendee at Accountex 2023 in collaboration with the Eden Reforestation Projects.

“We already take ESG at Milsted Langdon very seriously and have organised several beach and river clean-ups in recent years, but every firm could do more, and this is certainly an area of interest for those using our services, as well as those looking to join our team. We want to help people and communities thrive.”

Accounting is more than just numbers – “The accountant/client relationship has evolved. It was previously very compliance and transactional-based but has now evolved into a more collaborative relationship, with technology allowing accountants to build and strengthen their relationships with clients.

“Online accounting allows accountants to get closer to clients, with the time we get back from using various technology being employed to build relationships further. Using digital tools, accountants now have the insight, knowledge and data to understand our clients and their businesses, where they are going and what opportunities are available to them, which helps build on that relationship and allows us to be trusted advisors.

“Whilst digital solutions allow us to streamline processes and provide valuable insights to our clients, it is still more important than ever to remember that technology should enhance and not replace the human element. Automation, and eventually, AI are tools at our disposal that allow us to create a closer connection.”

Generation Z – “Recruitment was also big on the agenda at Accountex now that Generation Z is entering the market and bringing with them predetermined expectations of the technology they will be using.

Their world belongs in the cloud or an app, and they have grown up with tech. To appeal to this candidate pool, businesses will need to support their offerings with a strong tech stack that will attract and retain the right calibre of new talent.

“Gen Z-ers said they wouldn’t switch to a paper-based company for triple the salary as technology is so important to this generation. The industry will need to catch up if it wants to recruit and retain the best talent and it was clear that the technology is now here to help us to do so.”

The Business Innovation department at Milsted Langdon is always on the lookout for the latest trends in accounting to ensure its clients get the best possible service and have access to the right technology to suit their requirements.

However, they also keep an eye on wider changes in the profession that relate to technology so that they can keep their colleagues and peers informed.

“This year’s Accountex was one of the biggest yet and showcased how the industry is coming on in leaps and bounds at the moment,” added Sarah.

“The pace of change is opening up some exciting opportunities for firms like ours and the people that we support and guide every day.”

To find out more about Milsted Langdon’s Business Innovation service, please click here.

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