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Discover the future of accounting inside the Practice of Now 2020


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 AI in accounting, changing regulations and a new generation entering the workforce, are all causing real change.

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 South African accountants how they were approaching technology investments, and suggest how this might change in times of COVID-19

Key statistics and findings for 2020

Over two-thirds of SA accountants are ready for the next wave of digital technologies, like RPA, AI and blockchain.
Over half of accountants describe themselves as early adopters who invest in tech to differentiate their services.
Practice of Now key statistic 82% icon: annulus with 87% filled and text in centre of ring: 82%
The majority of accountants say firms need to increase technology adoption.

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.

  • 90% of accountants agree that new technologies and a culture of digitalisation means they have had to invest more, and more quickly
  • 49% of accountants have formally reviewed their business practices in the last 6 months

Advisory services

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


  • 83% of survey respondents are comfortable providing business management advice in areas like marketing, HR, and growth modelling
  • 76% are confident about providing industry specific advice for clients, such as standard profit margins
  • 74% 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 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
The Practice of Now 2020 cover image - South Africa: photo of smiling man sitting at desk in front of laptop

Sage Advice for accountants

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Accountants research from previous years

Over the last few 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.

Sage content for accountants

Read about how to thrive in the accounting profession with our guides here.

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