With Brexit on the horizon and quickly evolving smart technology, the public practice market can expect some exciting changes in 2020.  

These changes are bound to impact how both clients and professional practice firms conduct business. To remain competitive and continue delivering outstanding services, public practice firms will need to stay informed on these changes. 

Join us as we take a look at some of the upcoming trends within the public practice market and discuss key trends firms should be aware of. 

Brexit on the Horizon?

With the Brexit deadline set for January 31st 2020, public practice firms will need to prepare for leaving the EU. A successful transition will require careful planning and there are a few challenges accounting firms must consider.  

On the one hand, public practice firms may see a slow down in business as clients either relocate or experience challenges in the market. While advisory services are increasing due to a number of factors, Brexit puts greater demand on core compliance services like accounts year-end, audit and tax.  

Public practice firms could see new streams of revenue, like advising clients on the impacts of Brexit or helping them to navigate new tax regulations after we leave the EU. 

We hope to see increased candidate movements after the market has reacted and settled down post-Brexit. This is likely to be one of the biggest changes after leaving the EU as there are still plenty of jobs available on the market. 

The Break-Up of Audit & Non-Audit Services

Simon Dingemans, the new chairman of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), recently called on the UK government to force Big 4 accounting firms to separate auditing and consulting services. Until now, Big 4 auditors provided both services, which is the route to government debate.

If the government follows Dingemans’ recommendations, new legislation could come into effect that reforms public practices by enforcing a separation in auditing and non-auditing services. This separation would place a greater emphasis on audits and make auditors independent from the rest of the firm. 

The proposed separation isn’t without challenge. Big 4 firms claim it would harm their resilience and profits. Plus, Big 4 firms worry it would impact their ability to offer a full service to each client as they’d be restricted from recommending other in-house service. 

The Rise of Cloud-based Software

As cloud accounting continues to gain more tradition, we expect it’ll continue to play a greater role in day-to-day accountancy services. Incorporating cloud technology into your public practice firm will be essential to remain up-to-date and establish your company as an industry leader in accounting services. 

The UK government rolled out the Making Tax Digital initiative in April 2018, which has largely driven the popularity of cloud accounting. 

With over 67% of accountants preferring cloud accounting, there are some serious benefits to embracing this new technology. Cloud accounting can also help you reduce costs, streamline your services and improve your ability to support clients. In addition, cloud-based software also allows for real-time reporting on your taxes and profits which increases your business’ productivity.

The Changing Role of Accountants

As automation within accountancy continues to become a bigger part of modern workplaces, general accountants roles will shift to take on a greater focus on business advisory. 

Increased automation in the workplace means accountants will now be able to focus on more strategic and analytical tasks. Public practice firms will, as a result, become more efficient and productive. This  in turn will allow you to increase your client base without compromising on service standards. 

Exciting times indeed!

Flexible Working & Family-Friendly Workplaces

As we explored in a blog earlier this year, public practice firms are embracing flexible working practices. 

Women now make up 49% of accounting students, which places an increased need for family-friendly workplaces and more flexible ways of working. Flexible working makes balancing family life and a career possible for everyone.  

Whether it’s working from home, term-time hours or flexi days, public practice firms are finding unique ways to support working parents and dismiss industry stereotypes of long hours. We’re certainly excited to see the changes happening within public practices. 

Millennial Clients

As the younger generations of accountants enter the workforce, public practice firms will inevitably see more and more Millennial clients. 

Millennial clients come with a range of different needs and expectations. Having grown up with technology at their fingertips, Millennial clients will want their accountants to embrace new technologies and modern ways of working like paperless accounting, which emphasises the need for accountancy firms to continue with their own training programmes and graduate intakes.  

Public practice firms will also need to take a more proactive and personal approach as well as achieve a higher level of transparency to support the next generation of high-earners.

Recruit or Apply for Public Practice Roles with Change Recruitment

The public practice industry will face many challenges in the new year. However, these challenges also hold exciting changes, which could provide the perfect opportunity for firms to adapt and embrace innovative ways of working.  

Likewise, scaling and growing your public practice firm in 2020 might require sourcing some new talent and expanding your current candidate pool. As specialists in public practice recruitment, we can help you find the perfect employee to grow and scale your business. Speak to one of our dedicated consultants to learn more. 

Or, if you’re looking for your next career move, check out our job board and submit your CV to relevant roles in the public practice sector.

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