Today’s business world is moving rapidly, transforming accountants’ lives but also offering new opportunities. We’re looking ahead to help you go beyond. Turn to us for more information on today’s topics and check out what we’re tracking in future twice-a-year editions of the “Watchlist.”

Blockchain


Blockchain, also known as distributed ledger technology, is starting to make financial transactions more secure and transparent. Blockchain will transform the audit and the way accountants do business as more organizations invest in and adopt the technology.

Artificial intelligence (AI)


Artificial intelligence is taking the place of some tasks as machine-based learning gets progressively better. This technology is becoming more accessible than ever and enables accountants to streamline their operations, saving time while yielding greater accuracy.

Robotics


From ATMs to self-checkouts, electronic interaction in financial exchanges is on the rise. As bots absorb many lower-level accounting functions, organizations will work more efficiently cross-functionally. Professionals will gain higher-level technical skills through evolving continuing education.

Natural capital concerns


Accountants are poised to become global leaders in natural capital accounting. For instance, as companies — and governments — manage decreasing water supplies, accountant-provided risk assessments and sustainability assurance engagements will be increasingly necessary and in demand. Download AICPA’s Attestation Engagements on Sustainability Information Guide.

Banking evolution


With the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency, the end of conventional banking could be in our future. Virtual currencies allow for peer-to-peer transactions without the need for central clearinghouses and banks. As economies evolve, so too will the profession.

Quantum computing


Quantum computers are far faster and more powerful than today’s systems. These computers are capable of quickly processing the technical aspects of accounting, but would necessitate updates to address the security of technologies such as blockchain.