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Key trends shaping the accounting profession in 2024

February 01, 2024

By Stacy Shrader, Lead Product Marketing Manager


For accounting professionals, the start of a new year also means the start of the busy season. On top of that, the profession finds itself in a transformative era filled with opportunities and challenges. From staffing shortages, to evolving regulations and tech advancements, the profession continues to redefine how accountants work. 


Curious about how some of those trends will shape 2024? Let’s review key forces that will shape the accounting profession this year.



Trend 1: Efficiency


Everyone is trying to work smarter, not harder. But efficiency is difficult to achieve in the profession. According to a recent ShareFile report, 79% accountants say they can perform their job effectively but not efficiently. Why? Survey respondents point to having more to do with fewer resources


Efficiency is even more important because of profession staffing shortages. According to the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), data show fewer young people are studying accounting in college and even fewer go on to become CPAs. In fact, Accounting Today reported that the top challenge in 2024 for firms is recruiting/retaining good employees. We know that firms can’t control the talent pipeline, but they can control how the firm operates.




“Improve automation and expand the tasks assigned to noncertified professionals to support accountants in their work.” 


— Randy Johnston, CEO and founder, EVP, NMGI & K2 Enterprises, 

Accounting Today’s 2023 Top 100 Most Influential People 




Firms should look for tools in 2024 that will help them reduce manual, repetitive tasks in client processes. Increasing workflow efficiency with technology can offload essential but tedious tasks and allow CPAs to focus on serving clients and growing their customer base. 



Trend 2: Automation


Efficiency and automation go hand in hand, and firms are looking to implement more automation in their operations, from internal processes to client workflows. In fact, 96% of accountants consider automation “important” to the profession. Accountants are eager to leverage its ability to handle the monotonous tasks that hamper productivity.




“There is an urgent need of attention for understanding, adoption and use of artificial intelligence — specifically in ways that it can automate rote tasks to free up capacity for busy practitioners.”


 – Kacee Johnson, VP of Strategy & Innovation,, 

Accounting Today’s 2023 Top 100 Most Influential People




Not only will automation help alleviate issues caused by the staffing shortage, it can also:

  • Improve service turnaround time
  • Reduce costs
  • Lower human errors
  • Foster a better client experience
  • Increase productivity



Trend 3: Managing growth


Even with a staffing shortage, accounting firms expect business growth in 2024, with 71% of firms predicting growth of 4% or more. That will require firms to increase capacity to better serve clients. This expected growth has firms looking for ways to manage new business through technology. 


The growth in business, the focus on efficiency, and the embrace of automation bring technology solutions to the forefront for most firms. Of Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People, 62% believe advances in technology have helped the profession become more efficient. Technology delivers a strong ROI for accounting firms, which spend an average of 21% of their budgets on technology. Nearly half expect to spend even more in 2024.




The Year Ahead


The accounting landscape in 2024 is marked by trends around efficiency, automation, and business growth. It’s clear these forces are transforming the profession and helping firms combat the profession’s major challenges that seem to be here to stay.