search icon

Discover the future of accounting inside the Practice of Now 2020

Report

Read the latest independent accountant research with insights from 3,000+ accounting professionals worldwide. It covers topics like client demands, modern service offerings, and technologies such as automation.

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

Accountants and bookkeepers are disrupting their industries. We show how artificial intelligence (AI), changing regulations and a new generation entering the workforce, are all causing real change in accounting.

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 services, including their insights about AI and other emerging technologies
  • Asked US accounting professionals about their views on diversity and inclusion, the future of cloud accounting and AI and their advice on managing technology and workers to be better prepared for a shifting 2020 landscape and beyond

Key statistics and findings for 2020

A majority of US accountants say that new technology is delivering value to their business.
More than half of respondents identified financial business advisory as an additional skill needed by accountants that are joining the profession.
Practice of Now key statistic 66% icon: annulus with 66% filled and text in centre of ring: 66%
Two thirds of accountants feel their firms need to increase the pace of technology adoption to stay competitive.

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
youtube video player

Advisory services

Changing client expectations, new technology, and a new generation are impacting how practices work. Of those we surveyed:


  • 79% of survey respondents are confident about providing business management and advisory services like cash flow management
  • 75% are confident about providing industry specific advice for clients, such as standard profit margins
  • 73% are confident about providing technology implementation recommendations like AI and automation

What's inside the Practice of Now 2020 report

This year’s report reveals an overwhelming majority of accountants recognize 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

Accountants research from previous years

Over the last four years, the Practice of Now global accounting 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.