Michael Sterling

Flashback: 10 Things Accountants Didn’t Have to Deal with 10 Years Ago


Think about it. It wasn’t long ago that Slack, Facebook Live and Snapchat didn’t exist. Today, they’re go-to communication tools. The world is changing at a lightning pace.


I came across an article by Hitendra Patil of Pransform, Inc. which lists 10 things that Accountants must deal with today that weren’t a concern 10 years ago.  I’ve saved the list – a time capsule of sorts. I plan to look at it in another year or two just to mark how things have changed – again.


Perhaps you might want to do the same. So, here’s the list:


10 Things Accountants Didn’t Have to Deal with 10 Years Ago


  1. Social Media: 10 years ago, “media” was some music that all of you enjoyed at “social” events like weddings, parties or maybe pubs. Now, if your firm is not on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and probably Instagram, your firm might be facing the music.
  2. Customer Ratings: 10 years ago, you got referrals due to word-of-mouth customer ratings. You probably lost a few clients because of the same thing. But now you can get or lose customers without any referral as they can see your independently authenticated customer ratings on several websites.
  3. Cloud: 10 years ago, a cloud was an atmospheric mass of liquid. Now cloud (software) is a game-changing method of working smarter and faster. In the article,”Get Your Head In the Cloud,” I outline how Cloud-based technology is transforming Public Accounting with the freedom and flexibility to work with clients in real-time from anywhere and on any device.
  4. Software Costs: 10 years ago, you paid once for software and maybe a little more for annual updates. Now you pay every month. Being an accountant, you suddenly see break-even time and total cost of ownership being quite a challenge, most likely because you may not have built these changes into your pricing.
  5. Handheld Devices: 10 years ago, clients and staff came to your location. Now, your firm has to go to clients’ and, many times, staff’s location! This has its challenges of coordination management.
  6. Non-Local Competition: 10 years ago, you were worried about the firm next door or down the street. Now, you are worried about your competitor from 400 or 4000 miles away.
  7. No One Else Can Do What You Can Do: 10 years ago, people came to you, as you were the specialist who knew how to create books and prepare taxes. Now, accounting software has become powerful, intelligent and easier to operate, enabling many people to do their own accounting, fairly well. 10 years ago, 14.6 million taxpayers e-filed their returns from home; 46.5 million self-filed in 2014.
  8. Fee Information: 10 years ago, not too many of your clients knew about how much you charged others. Not too many prospects knew much about the “going rates” in the area unless they did a lot of footwork visiting multiple firms. Now, national averages and local averages and “pricing” links are available in an instant Google search.
  9. Managing Generation Y and Generation Z: 10 years ago, you dealt with generational changes. Now, GenY – Millennials are solidly in positions of management. They’ve evolved the workplace and are preparing for changes younger generations will bring.
  10. Value of Your Practice: 10 years ago, you could have sold your firm for 1.5 to 2.0 times your gross revenue. Now, most thought leaders think and recent sales data indicates that if you get 1.0 time, you are being considered lucky.


Thoughts? Additions?  Let me know. It will be fun to watch the list evolve. Connect with me on LinkedIn.


Interested in more public accounting related information? Check out everything from jobs to career wellness on the SterlingFreeman website.



Find Public Accounting Jobs

© 2022 Sterling Freeman   |  Privacy Policy