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Discover the evolving accounting profession inside the Practice of Now 2020

Report

Read the latest independent accountant research with insights from 3000+ accounting professionals in Australia and around the globe. Understand the evolving client landscape and ways accountants are responding with modern service offerings through technologies and altering business practices.

What is the Practice of Now?

The Practice of Now is vital reading for any professional who aims to overcome changes in the accounting profession. It provides guidance about what the accounting firm of the future will look like by revealing insights from today’s accountant and bookkeeper communities.

This year’s findings

Clients' needs and expectations are driving innovation and change, this has been further accelerated in what can only be described as unprecedented times. Accountants can no longer interact with clients in entirely the same way and are developing new strategies to better engage and service their clients.

How did we do it?

For the fourth annual report, we:

 

  • Consulted more than 3,000 accounting professionals across the globe, in association with B2B research company Savanta
  • Included survey results from Coleman Parkes explaining how real businesses view the professionals providing their accounting, as well as insights about artificial intelligence
  • Asked Australian accountants to discover their views on the future of the local accountancy landscape

Key statistics and findings for 2020

of accountants believe new technology delivers great value to their business

Practice of Now key statistic 87% icon: annulus with 87% filled and text in centre of ring: 87%
of accountants say clients expect better service levels – but no fee increase.
Practice of Now key statistic 66% icon: annulus with 66% filled and text in centre of ring: 66%
of Australian accountants would like to extend the services offered by their firm but don’t know where to start

Impact of technology on customer relationships

Ensuring you fully understand how the world looks from the perspective of your clients and building lasting value-packed relationships and tools based on this insight will ensure longevity of your practice. Of those we surveyed, technology has enabled:

  • 54% to provide a faster service 
  • 43% to improve client service and satisfaction
  • 32% to understand client needs better
 

Download your free infographic

An industry on the brink of positive change demands accountants understand their client needs and keep abreast of technologies like automation.


  • 83% of accountants agree that new technologies and a culture of digitalisation means they have had to invest more, and more quickly
  • 74% of accountants have formally reviewed their business practices in the last 12 months
Practice of Now infographic cover image: Illustration of a man and a woman with data and reports swirling around them and the text: A profession on the brink of positive change

What's inside the Practice of Now 2020 report

This year’s report reveals an overwhelming majority of accountants recognise clients expect a diverse range of services and skills from them. Clients also expect accountants to understand disruptive technologies. Download the report and:

  • Learn how your practice can create growth in an industry undergoing unprecedented change
  • Understand the role of technology in accounting and how accountants respond to evolving client needs
  • Get insights into increasingly powerful technologies like automation
  • Discover what the accountant industry will look like by the end of the decade

Sage Advice for accountants

Read about the future of the accounting profession in our latest blog posts and articles.

What service offerings do clients need in a post-COVID world?

What service offerings do clients need in a post-COVID world?

There’s little doubt that, as the coronavirus disruption of 2020 continues, many accountants have been walking alongside their clients for every step of the journey. Suddenly, accountants have found themselves superheroes of the economy because the help from governments and other bodies has been primarily financial in nature. They’ve both provided and explained the data […]

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Disrupting the profession: 3 ways accountants can grow and thrive

Disrupting the profession: 3 ways accountants can grow and thrive

John D. Rockefeller infamously said: “I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity.” With this in mind, accounting professionals recently felt both were thrust upon them following the coronavirus outbreak. They’ve formed the bedrock for businesses, providing advice and assisting with claims for government help. This ties in with the themes of this […]

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What real customers say: 3 ways to improve your practice

What real customers say: 3 ways to improve your practice

The Practice of Now survey has been capturing the thoughts and feelings of accounting professionals since 2017, and the latest version is now available. For the 2020 edition of the report, a new element was added: an additional qualitative survey from Coleman Parkes, which involved carrying out in-depth interviews with users of accountancy services. This […]

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Accountants research from previous years

Over the last four years, the Practice of Now global accountancy survey has painted a picture of a landscape evolving to meet client needs. It’s also provided guidance for forward-thinking practices.

2019 Report

As the accounting profession prepares for the coming decade, core beliefs driving the profession should be re-evaluated.

2018 Report

With the majority of clients expecting more, two thirds of accountants are turning to AI and automation.

2017 Report

As technological advancements continue, accountants need to jump on board and harness change to bring opportunity.