5 Challenges CPAs Face – And How to Offset them

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The accounting field has undergone some radical changes over the last several years, and many challenges are still in the cards. Tech advances are demanding Certified Public Accountants (CPA) to scale up their basic transactional and compliance services to deliver more consulting and advisory solutions.

Meanwhile, CPAs are coping with the COVID-19 crisis and helping customers navigate the Paycheck Protection Program loans, CARES Act, and forgiveness applications. All this alongside the typical demands of the tax and audit phase.

With loads of noises to cut through, it is hard to look toward the future. That said, CPAs must continue gearing up for the time ahead to curtail the risks and gain a competitive edge.

We have highlighted the five major challenges CPAs face nowadays, along with the measures you can take to turn the crisis into opportunities. Let’s get started.

IT Literacy

One of the main issues CPAs face is to leverage cloud accounting software and work effectively in a cloud ecosystem. Accounting and finances are going completely digital. Cloud-driven accounting systems are finding use both in the workspaces and remote locations more than ever.

Hence, CPAs must keep pace with the ever-evolving tech to continue serving customers while staying competitive. Being IT-savvy is no longer a USP – it is a business imperative.

Tax Rule Changes

A persistent problem for CPAs is keeping pace with the tax policies. All CPAs should be aware of the changes and be able to leverage tax management systems and accounting technology to manage taxes online. 

Digital tax initiatives such as Making Tax Digital (MTD) are growing across the globe. As such, CPAs need to understand the technology and strategies involved. Being able to suggest IT solutions around tax filing and grievances is also a surefire way to remain ahead of the curve.

Wearing Multiple Hats

Besides new tech requirements and pure accounting expertise, CPAs are facing a much more interconnected world. This means becoming more skilled in knowing business needs, operations, and even customer behavioral patterns. 

In an ambiguous economy, businesses require authentic, informed financial insights to cut costs and make the best decisions possible. Financial assessment, financial projection, and cash flow forecast expertise are vital skills to have now. The firmer grip CPAs have on these skills, the more worthwhile they become. 

Automation

Let us end this debate once and for all – Automation will not eliminate jobs even though it is a potential issue for the CPAs. Automation, and even artificial intelligence (AI), will not replace but rather improve the CPA’s role if they can successfully employ and harness these technologies. 

One of the major challenges for finance professionals is utilizing more automated features to strengthen the value of the accounting processes. 

Cybersecurity

Large-scale external and internal accounting system risks have been pretty prevalent lately with spikes as workforces shift more towards cloud amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For CPAs, the challenge is executing processes and tools to safeguard data. Remember, data breaches and accounting errors have triggered the downfall of many businesses. 

However, while these digital hurdles remain, the advantage for CPAs is in understanding the aspects and internal controls required to preserve financial information.

The Bottom Line

Understanding the challenges which CPAs are facing today can help you plan for the future. If you act now, you will have more control over how these pressures impact you and the opportunities they will create for you in the accounting industry.

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