Date posted: 19/12/2017 5 min read

2018 predictions for the accounting profession

What's on the horizon for accountants? CA ANZ policy experts provide words of wisdom on what they anticipate will be on the agenda

In brief

  • Technology/digital disruption will continue to change the landscape in which accountants operate in 2018
  • Expectations of investors, regulators and the public are driving a change in information needs and focus areas
  • People will look to accountants for advice in navigating the changing landscape.

To help accountants plan for the year ahead our policy leaders and advisors at Chartered Accountants ANZ provided predictions on issues likely to be on the agenda across the profession.

1. Liz Stamford, General Manager Policy & Audit and Insolvency Leader

  • Demand for independent assurance over all types of reporting, from grants to sustainability statements, will continue to increase.

2. Michael Croker, Tax Leader, Australia

  • Single Touch Payroll (STP) will trigger a flurry of activity from the ATO, accountants, software developers and payroll outsourcing firms in the lead up to the first phase implementation date of 1 July 2018. Have you switched on to STP yet?

3. John Cuthbertson, Tax Leader, New Zealand

  • Revenue authorities will increasingly expect accountants and businesses to interact with them using technology rather than via paper forms or face to face.
  • Tax reform will continue to focus on cross border reform, including international cooperation on rules for multinational enterprises.

"More SMEs will look to their accountants for advice as they embark on their own digital strategies as the business benefits of going digital become more understood."
Geraldine Magarey Leader, Policy and Thought Leadership

4. Geraldine Magarey, Leader Policy and Thought Leadership

  • The importance of ensuring your practice, clients or organisation is cyber resilient will be more important than ever. Plan as if it will happen and remember new data breach notification laws come into effect on 23 February 2018.
  • Technology will continue its march and play an increasing role. Blockchain will start to become more common with the ASX having already announced it is looking to move to a new settlement platform using distributed ledger technology. Robotics, including robotic process automation, will become more common place. The use of Artificial Intelligence will also increase in many areas of accounting.
  • More SMEs will look to their accountant for advice as they embark on their own digital strategies as the business benefits of going digital become more understood.

5. Tony Negline, Superannuation Leader

  • The Australian Banking and Financial Services Royal Commission hearings and investigations will generate a great deal of interest and will lead to further regulatory change
  • The public’s focus on costs, governance and reporting in KiwiSaver funds and large Australian super funds will continue to increase placing greater pressure on those that run these funds.

6. Ceri-Ann Ross, Reporting Leader

  • Companies of all shapes and sizes will continue to increase the communication effectiveness of their financial reports by removing unnecessary clutter, presenting relevant information in a clear and concise way and using integrated reporting principles to demonstrate value to stakeholders.

7. Karen McWilliams, Ethics and Sustainability Leader

  • Investors will increase their requests for compliance with the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations. Organisations will need to consider how climate-related risks and opportunities will impact their organisations and report accordingly.
  • As we enter the third year for the sustainable development goals (SDGs), leading organisations are going beyond mapping their activities to the SDGs and are now looking at how they report their contribution to the goals using the GRI or Integrated Reporting frameworks.

8. Zowie Pateman, Senior Policy Advisor, Anti-Money Laundering Policy

  • Accountants in practice in New Zealand will be getting to grips with the requirements of the new AML/CFT legislation. Similar is likely to follow in Australia.

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