Some things about a new year are almost inevitable: resolutions, a post-holiday hangover and predictions for what will happen in the year to come. You’ll have to decide how to better yourself and recover from December festivities, but this blog post has you covered with predictions for accounting trends in 2023.
Of course, any sort of forecasting is dangerous because circumstances can change suddenly (just think back to 2020), so this particular look into the proverbial crystal ball is based on 2023 being relatively normal for accountants as well as for the rest of the world. We can hope.
The year 2023 could usher in a new era for the accounting profession. Some technological trends—positive and negative—are poised to take a leap into your everyday work experience. Others might still seem more like fiction than fact but are nevertheless moving toward becoming reality.
With best wishes for a prosperous, or at least relatively normal, 2023, here are a few predictions for the accounting profession.
Cybersecurity Trends Will Continue To Be an Obsession for Accountants
Some things never change, even if it would be nice if they could. One of those is the threat of cyberattacks. It’s not exactly a bold stance to say that cybersecurity will remain a major issue for accounting firms in 2023, but it’s worth mentioning.
The battle against cybercrime literally never ends. Attempted cyberattacks will continue to be relentless, and many will succeed. In the second quarter of 2022 alone, 1% of the world’s population fell victim to a data breach, according to Surfshark. That means in just a three-month period, 1 in 100 people worldwide was a victim of a successful cyberattack.
And it’s only going to get worse. Criminal organizations and nation-states have created comprehensive hacking service organizations to facilitate cyberattacks, complete with professional tech support, sales and marketing.
Yes, cybercrime vendors exist just the way security vendors do, and they’re becoming not only more common but increasingly popular among aspiring data thieves. As a result, phishing emails and other forms of ransomware are more sophisticated and harder to detect than they used to be.
Multifactor Authentication Will Evolve to Improve Cybersecurity
But firms have reason for hope. In 2023, accounting professionals will adopt a new generation of applications from legitimate cybersecurity providers that are offering innovative new ways to prevent and mitigate the impact of data breaches.
Of course, any firm that doesn’t already employ multifactor authentication (MFA) needs to—immediately. In 2023, MFA will continue to evolve, and firms will embrace that evolution. Specifically, biometric identifiers, such as fingerprint and face recognition, will rapidly ascend as authentication methods.
The process will lessen reliance on passwords for authentication, employing biometrics as an alternative. In fact, “passwordless” authentication will become more prevalent in 2023. Passwordless authentication is a very complex system that uses two cryptographic keys—one public, one secret—to authenticate a user. It incorporates both MFA and biometric identification. Again, it doesn’t yet completely eliminate the need for passwords, but it is headed in that direction.
Smaller firms might not yet be ready for passwordless authentication—and vice versa—but it is a technology to watch for the future.
The Environmental, Social and Governance Movement Could Provide Opportunities
E, S and G have become three big letters for many businesses in recent years. They stand for environmental, social and governance (ESG), and together they represent a movement among companies to demonstrate that their business practices and investments are beneficial, or at least not harmful, to the planet as well as to the people who live on it.
For companies, a positive ESG is a quantifiable measure of the level of risk a business faces with issues such as energy efficiency and worker safety. ESG isn’t just a do-gooder vanity score; it’s a key metric for determining a business’s long-term health and viability.
Unsurprisingly, ESG isn’t a particularly simple concept. It involves navigating a dense forest of evolving frameworks and standards. More to the point for accounting firms, businesses can’t really give themselves ESG scores. They need a third party to assess and verify their claims and information. And they need someone who can sign off on an audit.
That’s exactly what your firm can do. After all, only accounting firms—and CPAs in particular—can sign off on audits. In 2023, ESG audits could provide accelerating revenue opportunities for accounting firms that are prepared to take them on.
The Blockchain Will Evolve Toward Shaping the Future of Accounting
Many observers associate the blockchain with cryptocurrencies, but there’s more to the blockchain than just managing Bitcoin. It greatly increases the speed of payments in the supply chain.
Take agriculture, for example. When a farmer harvests a head of lettuce, a trucker picks it up and takes it to a cooling plant. With the agricultural blockchain, the farmer gets paid as soon as the trucker arrives at the farm, and the trucker gets paid as soon as the truck arrives at the distribution center. There’s no waiting for the end of the process—for the lettuce to reach a store—for everybody along the way to get paid. All parties receive money as soon as their jobs are done.
What will that mean for accountants as blockchain technology evolves? For instance, with smart contracts using the Ethereum platform, your firm would be able to receive payment immediately after completing work and satisfactory acceptance by clients.
Unfortunately, smart contracts of that kind aren’t yet available for accounting firms—although the blockchain is moving in that direction. In 2023, expect the blockchain to continue evolving toward offering firms options for faster payment.
Accounting Works Best in the Cloud
One thing that won’t change in accounting trends for 2023 is that the cloud will remain the most reliable and safest way for your firm to access its applications, secure your IT infrastructure or outsource your IT processes altogether. Whether you’re looking for secure QuickBooks® Desktop that’s available anytime, anywhere, or you want to have experts run a managed IT service so you don’t have to worry about technology, Right Networks has a service for your firm.
And remember, Right Networks also offers enterprise-level security for your devices, as well as training for employees that will enable them to detect and avoid cyberattacks. No matter what happens in accounting in 2023, it will happen in the cloud.