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Canadian Accountants call for changes to meet new market reality in the next decade

Sage global research reveals that accountants unanimously believe cultural shifts are driving changes to their business practices and professional needs.

Richmond, BC – May 14, 2019 — Sage (FTSE:SGE), the market leader for cloud business management solutions, today released its annual Practice of Now research report. Of the 3,000 accountants surveyed worldwide in 2019, these professionals unanimously (90 percent) agree that they are responding to a cultural shift in accountancy. In Canada, the survey found that respondents are seeking changes in the following areas:

  • 66% believe a traditional accountancy training will not be enough to run a successful practice by 2030
  • 30% is open to recruiting from a non-traditional accountant background, compared to 36% globally
  • Technology literacy (57%), business literacy (55%), and relationship building (54%) are the three skills identified as most needed for the profession

Currently 77% of the Canadian respondents are confident to provide business management advice. However, 54% believe they need to increase the pace of technology adoption to stay competitive internationally.


Cultural Shifts Drive Changes in Business Practices

While Canadian accountants agree that they are experiencing a cultural shift, they have mixed opinions on the drivers behind the shift. Market demands (22%), the need to invest faster and in more areas (17%), and widening client expectations (16%), are considered the top three drivers, with the digital revolution viewed as a close fourth factor (15%).


While the majority of the respondents (52 percent) see current technologies have boosted productivity, they are expecting even more from emerging technologies:

  • 34% want to automate the process of identifying cost-reduction opportunities for clients
  • 48% expect to automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks
  • 50% expect artificial intelligence (AI) will be deployed to support automation and business operation

Attitudes towards technologies are also split between age groups. 53% of young professionals (age 16-24) and 40% of senior professionals (age 65 and above) believe more strongly that technologies are freeing them up to focus on customers than the age groups in between.


Cultural Shifts Drive Expectations

Canadian accountants are also responding to clients’ and employees’ expectations amidst the cultural shifts:

  • 33% are actively seeking to diversify the workforce and 44% have altered some policies and procedures to promote diversity and inclusion
  • 65% believe employers are responsible to drive adequate training on the latest technologies
  • Company culture and its reputation become the second most important factors for attracting talent (38%), after salary and bonus (41%).
    “The Practice of Now Report provides valuable insights into how to prepare for competition in the next decade in the accounting profession for decision-makers,” said Jennifer Warawa, EVP of Partners, Accountants and Alliances at Sage. “Firms are increasingly competing at the global level. The next generation of professionals are expecting a more diverse workplace with a strong culture. They value access to the right technologies and training. Those who step up quickly are poised to win business and talent.”

Methodology

The Practice of Now 2019 includes the findings of independent research commissioned by Sage and conducted by Viga, surveying 3,000 accountants from across the globe (US, UK, Canada, Spain, France and Australia) in January 2019.


In addition to the Canadian report, the global version is also available for download here

Media contact:

Betty Tian
Sage
Office: 604-207-3611
Mobile: 604-376-7398
[email protected]

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About Sage

Sage (FTSE: SGE) is the global market leader for technology that helps businesses of all sizes manage everything from money to people – whether they’re a start-up, scale-up or enterprise. We do this through Sage Business Cloud - the one and only business management solution that customers will ever need, comprising Accounting, Enterprise Management, People & Payroll and Payments & Banking.

Our mission is to free business builders from the burden of admin, so they can spend more time doing what they love – and we do that every day for three million customers across 23 countries, through our 13,000 colleagues and a network of accountants and partners. We are committed to doing business the right way and giving back to our communities through the Sage Foundation.