Futurist, MACPA List CPA Profession’s Top Technology Trends

Daniel Burrus

Big data, artificial intelligence, robotic process automation (RPA) and cloud technologies top the list of technology trends that will impact the accounting and finance world over the next three years, according to research conducted by the Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA), the Business Learning Institute and futurist Daniel Burrus.

The research began with Burrus’ Top 20 Technology-Driven Hard Trends Shaping 2018 and Beyond. Using his annual list as a starting point, MACPA Executive Director Tom Hood asked more than 3,000 CPAs and finance and accounting professionals which of those trends will have the greatest impact on the profession over the next three years. Their answers in rank order are:

  1. Big data analytics
  2. Artificial intelligence and cognitive computing in audit and tax
  3. Advanced cloud computing
  4. Virtualization and automation of processes and services
  5. Mobile apps for business processes
  6. Adaptive and predictive cybersecurity
  7. Mobile banking and payments
  8. Smarter smartphones and tablets
  9. Blockchains and cryptocurrency
  10. Virtualization of desktop and storage

“This year’s list saw some major changes as big data analytics rose to the top of the list, replacing artificial intelligence and cognitive computing,” says Hood in a statement. “Advanced cloud computing and mobile applications rose a few slots, indicating the increasing number of cloud applications and adoption by the accounting and finance profession.”

Tom Hood

“Keep in mind that these are hard trends, or future facts, that will happen whether we like them or not,” Hood adds. “Dan Burrus distinguishes these from the ‘soft trends’ that may happen. These core concepts are being used by accounting and finance professionals to see the visible future and identify opportunities before we get disrupted by the exponential pace of these technologies.”

Burrus says, “These trends highlight enormous, game-changing opportunities in a broad array of applications and industries. As you read through them, look for opportunities for you to leverage them and become a positive disruptor.”

Hood adds a word of advice. “Don’t stop at the trends impacting your firm or company. Stop and think about how these trends are impacting your clients and customers, both internally and externally. Think about the hard trends facing your industry and your customers’ industries.”

These seemingly individual technologies are joining forces to disrupt the accounting and finance profession exponentially. The impact of artificial intelligence is huge, but when combined with blockchain, for instance, its impact increases tenfold … at least. This “10x mindset” will be vital going forward, Hood says.

The MACPA says the hard trends can be turned into opportunities through its Business Learning Institute’s curriculum, The Anticipatory Organization: Accounting and Finance Edition.