1) Continued appeal of technology: While some accounting departments continue to struggle with paper-based systems today, most businesses have at least begun to move towards paperless systems. As more and more businesses go paperless, pioneers are exploring Robotic Process Automation, Advanced Analytics and Artificial Intelligence technologies to improve the efficiency and reduce the time & cost associated with finance & accounting functions. We can expect the interest and developments in accounting technology to rise in 2018 and pick up over the coming years.
2) Skills shortage and salary increases in developed nations: Companies in the UK and US will continue to face a shortage of skills – finding qualified accountants and payroll specialists won’t get any easier. This is likely to push the salaries of the payroll and accounting staff working on-shore. This also means that businesses will continue to look for offshore finance & accounting companies to supplement their staff. F&A services providers that are able to deliver world-class services, plus have skilled and trained staff, will continue to see high demand for their services.
3) Increased emphasis on data security: Any F&A services company worth the name invests in rock-solid security. After all, such businesses are dealing with sensitive personal data. With the GDPR law in EU, all F&A companies serving the UK and EU markets will have to take their privacy & information security capabilities to the next level. This includes compliance with a number of privacy and information security laws around the world, powerful encryption methods, fraud prevention training for staff and end-to-end security at their premises.
4) Value additions beyond cost: F&A BPO sector continues to grow – HFS research predictsthat the sector will continue to see a 6% CAGR from 2017-2021. In 2017, its market size is $30.4 billion. However, the expectations that clients have from offshore services providers are changing. Labour arbitrage and improved efficiency is an old story as more and more companies expect their outsourcing provider to offer value additions in the form of technology innovations and more flexible services that positively impact business outcomes.
5) Raising the bar on F&A services: As businesses rely on mature offshore service providers to help them integrate technology and reengineering accounting processes, F&A outsourcing companies are stepping up to tackle change management and transition more effectively. This is making the offshore team more critical to the client’s success and raising the bar for F&A services providers across the globe.