As 2018 starts, it’s clear that the professional services industry—and the software that powers it—is poised for several big changes. Between automation, AI, and mobile technology that gets better by the day, plus political developments like tax reform, things will definitely shift for you. Here are three key trends that will come out of this landscape.
- You’ll Save More Time
With more and more firms using software as a service (SaaS) products that feature machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and automation, the lives of professionals will change dramatically. Time spent entering data, calculating metrics, and doing other repetitive tasks will decrease, so you can spend more time on actual revenue-generating activities.
For example, the average bookkeeper might spend 50 hours out of the year entering credit card transactions into their accounting system. With technology like intelligent bank and credit card feeds that automatically sync this data for them, this process will only take an hour per year. That’s a whole week of work that the bookkeeper suddenly has back! They can then work on building their business, rather than just maintaining it.
- Efficiency Will Make You Stand Out
With time-saving innovations like these, efficiency will become more of a differentiator for firms. Let’s say you automate your billing, use software integrations to avoid any repeat data entry, and can manage your whole business from your phone. Meanwhile, a competitor is stuck with older technology. You might be able to bid on a project with a three-month timeline (and you’ll stick to it!) while they can only realistically finish it in 7 months. Naturally, you’ll be able to win more and more projects (& clients) in comparison to them.
Of course, your clients will still only want to pay for quality services. They’ll prefer it if their projects are done more quickly, but only if they’re satisfied with the outcome.
- Hiring Will Increase
These technological changes will lead to a hiring boom. While the conventional wisdom is that automation kills jobs, the opposite is going to happen. If your business is more productive and profitable, you can take on more and more clients. This, of course, will create a need for more skilled professionals.
CPAs and tax professionals will also see a bump in hiring due to another factor: the recently passed US tax bill. Demand for their services will climb as clients will reach out to trained experts for help. Routine engagements will entail more billable hours, while businesses and consumers that might have normally done their taxes on their own will need professional guidance. While policy changes will only begin to affect returns filed in 2019, many consumers and businesses will spend 2018 trying to get their houses in order.
Certain types of consultancies and law firms will see more work if they have clients that operate in Europe. The implementation deadline for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) is in May of this year. Companies that don’t comply with the regulation by then will face large fines, which gives them an urgent reason to seek outside help.
So many of these industry changes will be enabled by the same technology that BQE Core features. Core was built on the principle that a company isn’t just a combination of silos with different tasks, with billing being completely disparate from sales, accounting being irrelevant to anything creative, and so on. Instead, each business is one silo, simply with different chambers. Information must flow freely and smoothly between departments. With legal timelines facing businesses of all kinds, the need for the instant sharing of information is even greater.
The software you use must facilitate this openness by centralizing data from every facet of your firm. That’s how you make smarter decisions, come up with new ideas, and increase profits. Cheers to a successful 2018!