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Top 5 Accounting and Finance Trends for 2024

22nd Jan 2024
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The Access Group provides integrated business management software.

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The 5 top trends in finance and accounting that are going to shape 2024 cover areas from cloud accounting, AI and blockchain technology to next-level compliance and cybersecurity — to name a few!

To help you get ahead of the game and ensure you and your finance team are ready to take on all that’s to come in 2024, we’ve highlighted some of the emerging trends for the next few months and produced a helpful. If you're considering switching your financial software in 2024, download our product brochure.

The economic landscape in 2024

It seems that every New Year is heralded by a raft of industry commentators telling finance professionals that this year is going to be one of momentous change.

From an economic point of view, 2024 is looking like a classic year of change as high interest rates start to wane and inflation reduces.

As we look forward to 2024, it is becoming clear that finance and accounting professionals are likely to be impacted by several trends and developments in 5 main areas:

  1. Finance technology (FinTech)
  2. Compliance
  3. Remote work
  4. Skills and development
  5. Data protection

Read on and find out how we see the next 12 months:

1. Adoption of new Finance technology

Emerging trends in finance and accounting technology take centre stage. The ongoing integration of advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI)machine learning (ML), and blockchain will continue to transform the finance and accounting landscape.

Whilst large systems will continue to be the most capable, especially for big, complex organisations it is also true to say that an increasing number of micro apps will extend the capability of base systems.

Connectivity will be the watchword in 2024 and systems that can’t connect to outside services or data will become more and more outmoded as their competitors forge ahead.

2. Focusing on Finance compliance

Finance leaders always have one eye on compliance and that certainly won’t change in 2024. Compliance will always be a very important aspect of the finance team’s responsibilities so what do we expect to see next year?

Good compliance practice starts at the top so the first thing to do is to make sure that the directors and managers of the business understand how important it is to lead by example. After all, if the senior manager is using the expenses system incorrectly, then why should their direct reports follow the rules?

Communication is vital when you are looking to improve compliance practice so clear and concise what, why, where and how comms will help. Identifying a compliance lead so that everyone knows who is in charge and who to speak to is also valuable.

3. Strategic approach to remote work in Finance

In 2019, remote working was often seen as a curiosity that couldn’t be implemented within most organisations. One year later, all of that had changed and, within a few weeks, businesses were forced to develop ways of working that allowed people to stay remote.

Is remote working more productive? The evidence seems mixed and is often tainted by personal bias one way or another but what does seem clear from academic studies is that team productivity is lessened whilst individual productivity is greater:

  • From a technology point of view, we expect further development of connectivity and productivity apps in 2024.
  • The cloud, thought of as a technological curiosity only a few years ago has now become central to modern business life.
  • We expect that the vast majority of apps developed in 2024 will offer at least some level of cloud storage.
  • A prime benefit of cloud storage is the increase in collaborative apps that allow the sharing, discussion and editing of apps by multiple people wherever they may be.

4. Emphasis on skills and development

Go back 20 years and you won’t find jobs advertised for app developers, social media managers or drone operators. It is a good bet that, with the continuing pace of change, more new job roles will be developed in the next few years.

For example, we are already seeing AI prompt engineers in high demand so the effect of new technology is already being felt.

Why is professional development in Finance necessary?

From a strategic point of view, finance leaders need to have a broad understanding of new technology to allow them to contribute positively to the direction of the business.

If the CFO doesn’t understand the tech then it is highly likely that the company will lose any competitive advantage, at least within the data analytics field.

What skills do finance and accounting professionals need in 2024?

Continuous learning and upskilling will be essential. Professionals should be proactive in acquiring new skills, such as data analytics, to stay competitive in the evolving job market.

5. Enhanced data protection in Finance

Cybersecurity is the practice of ensuring that access to data and systems is confined to only authorised people and applications.

One mistake that many businesses make when looking at cybersecurity is thinking that it is a purely technological problem with a corresponding tech solution when in fact, so much of cybersecurity focuses on human interaction with systems. We’ll explore this a little more in the following sections.

The best way to improve the risk levels that a company faces is to understand the risk, take it seriously and train its people to respond appropriately.

The starting point has to be a cybersecurity risk assessment that highlights areas that are in good shape but also points out systems and processes that need addressing.

At the very least, every UK company should sign up to and meet the requirements of Cyber Essentials.

The audit facet of the Plus certification means that the company is then starting to prepare for much more in-depth security work such as ISO27001 (data security) or ISO/IEC 27032 (cyber security).

But above all, the most important part of preparing a business cyber threat response is to make sure that it is supported from the very top.

2024 accounting and finance trends in review

2024 is shaping up to be an exciting, challenging and interesting year in the world of finance.

We expect to see quite a number of developments in a variety of areas, some of which will be welcomed by finance professionals and some which will prove more difficult to navigate.

As we look forward, we anticipate:

  • Greater development of existing AI apps, improving the quality and speed of output
  • The introduction of new, more powerful AI that will revolutionise some aspects of accounting
  • More requirements for compliance with greater regulation, especially in financial services
  • An expansion of open banking with better infrastructure and security
  • More and varied cyber threats, often driven by AI
  • More development in blockchain technology with enterprise-class applications coming on stream
  • The further maturity of remote and hybrid working

A push towards upskilling current finance teams as the worldwide jobs market tightens.

A wide and varied list indeed and certainly, finance teams will need to be on top of their game to cope.

We wish you all the best for your 2024 finance year!

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