Intuit Accountants News Central

Intuit® 2020 Report Depicts Future of the Accounting Profession

Article Post Date
February 2nd 2011 by Rich Walker

Imagine a world where accounting firms aren’t spending time gathering and entering client data … accounting professionals no longer focus on preparing financial reports and tax returns, but automatically download the data … accountants aren’t just data collectors, but serve as advisory and planning consultants to their clients.

Over the next  decade, rapid change and continuous transformation in the accounting profession will lend itself to greater opportunities for growth and productivity. In 2020, accounting practitioners will not only have changed the way they work, but also the work they do. Consumers and businesses will turn to them for competitive strategies to navigate the global marketplace.

All of this is based on the Future of Accounting report (download PDF here) that harnesses the collective expertise of the accounting professional community. That data is built on the Intuit 2020 Report released in October 2010 that identified 20 emerging trends and shifts that will shape business and society over the next decade.

“We’re excited about what the future holds for the accounting profession,” said Jill Ward, senior vice president and general manager of the Accounting Professionals Division. “As accounting and tax professionals play an increasingly strategic role in the livelihood of individuals and small businesses, Intuit® will continue to work as a trusted ally, providing the resources needed to help those in the accounting industry evolve and thrive in a connected world.”

Intuit’s Accounting Professionals Division and Emergent Research conducted a series of forecast workshops, exercises, and interviews with accounting professionals, academics, industry analysts and the media. These sessions identified the important trends and implications that will affect the accounting industry.

Four Key Trends

Driven by demographic, technological, social and economic shifts, accounting and tax professionals will find themselves moving beyond preparing financial reports and tax returns to embrace the bigger picture. They will have more consultative roles and know how to navigate the global marketplace for their clients.

The Future of Accounting report examines four trends and their influence on the profession:

  1. Shifting Business Environment Creates New Opportunities Specialization and collaboration will lead to increased opportunities for accounting and tax professionals who will work across global borders to meet their client needs, made possible by advances in technology.
  2. Demographic Shifts Change the Face of Professionals and Clients – Demographic shifts and a growing U.S.-based minority population will have broad implications for firms and their clients, influencing how, when and with whom they do business.
  3. From Data to Decision Making, Technology Changes the Accounting Profession – As technology expands and the automation of data collection rises, the focus of accounting will shift from computation to consulting as clients increasingly rely on their accounting professionals to analyze business information, support decisions and provide strategic advice.
  4. High-Tech Enhances High-Touch Client Outreach, Relationships and Service – Social media and ubiquitous mobile technologies will become even more pervasive, changing the way accounting and tax professionals conduct business and attract new clients. It will be imperative for practitioners to manage their web and mobile presences to establish firm reputation and brand.

Future research will explore the impact of these trends on specific markets or industries, and the way people live and work. To read the 2020 report and previous research, visit

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  • About Rich Walker

    Rich Walker As Director, Public Relations and Social Media, Accounting Professionals Division, for Intuit, Rich Walker leads the public relations and social media efforts for the accounting profession for Intuit’s Corporate Communications group. He is responsible for fostering the relationships the company has with the hundreds of thousands of accountants and financial professionals who use and recommend Intuit solutions, as well as working with the accounting media and financial analysts. He is also an active accountant advocate, imparting his professional insights as a CPA for more than 30 years. See all of Rich's articles…

    You can also visit Rich's Website

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