The Accounting Firm of the Future

How will technology, culture and societal changes impact on the nature, share and role of the future firm in accounting?

We have worked with the Audit Futures project of the Institute for Chartered Accountants for England & Wales (ICAEW) for several years, offering expert perspectives on the impact of digital on the profession, and helping to think through its future.

Building on this, we ran a research project on the firm of the future involving workshops at major firms, roundtables with smaller firms and a series of salons where professionals helped us tackle the question. Rather than start from an assumption that technology, culture or new business models would be the key driver, and build a picture from there, we wanted the project to create and test a framework to help anybody thinking about the firm of the future.

As a result, we build a multi-dimensional model that looked at how technology, culture, people, clients and society were all changing in ways that would impact the role, shape and purpose of the future firm, and we asked participants to help us rank the various sub-dimensions to see which they regarded as the most important for the future.

The resulting report is a useful starting point for anybody trying to understand how their firm might change, and whilst it offers some possible scenarios and examples, it does not provide a single template for what the future firm will look like. For more information, see the Future Firms framework or grab a copy of the report here.

Activities

  • Research into developments in accounting
  • Deliberative workshops with large firms
  • Salon discussions with individual professionals
  • Framework development and feedback from the firms
  • Report writing and presentation at events

Results

  • A flexible multi-dimensional framework that can allow any firm to consider its future shape
  • Greater awareness among professionals of the various dimensions of change
  • Inspiring and impactful events for participating firms

Key Learnings

  • Change is hard to predict in complex systems
  • All dimensions affect each other, so cannot be considered alone
  • There are lots of smart, interested professionals who could be better engaged by their firms on this key topic

Interested In Working With Us?