23 Accounting Statistics for 2021

Written on September 7, 2021
  1. 53% of accountants use cloud-based technology to enhance project management functions and improve communications
  2. 67% of accountants believe cloud computing will help them carry out their roles in the future
  3. By 2023, the cloud accounting market share is predicted to increase by $4.25 billion
  4. 50% of C-level executives in the accounting industry expect development in the area of automated accounting systems
  5. 54% of accountants say technology helps provide faster service
  6. 45% believe technology has improved client services and satisfaction
  7. 83% of accountants agree new technology and culture of digitalization means having to invest more to keep the pace
  8. 63% are, or are planning on, training in the area of client service management
  9. 63% are, or are planning on, training in the area of financial business advisory services
  10. 56% are, or are planning on, training in the area of project management
  11. 59% are, or are planning on, training in the area of business management
  12. 28% of respondents say costs of software and employee training hold them back from progressing
  13. 16% said lack of training is what’s preventing them from hiring new employees
  14. Technology could wipe out 94% of accounting and auditing jobs
  15. 51% of accountants say applicants should have financial business advisory skills
  16. 82% of firms said they’d be willing to hire from non-accounting backgrounds
  17. 42% of practices are actively seeking to diversify their workforce
  18. 37% of practices have a written policy or commitment to diversity and inclusion
  19. 74.8% of the accounting industry is white, 12.1% is black, 4.9% is Asian
  20. 24% of partners in accounting firms are women, despite women making up over 60% of the field
  21. The gender salary gap grew by 2% for base salary in 2019
  22. 70.4% of women compared to 76% of men received some form of additional compensation
  23. On average, women earned 86% of men’s base salaries and 85% of men’s total compensation

The future of accounting will seemingly rely heavily on the implementation and integration of high technology. While a lot of it is already in use, experts and research expect a bigger boom in 2021. Cloud-based systems, automating certain processes and figuring out how technology can help accountants better serve their clients are huge trends.

Not only that, but accountants are realizing that they need to expand their expertise in other areas of business in order to increase client satisfaction. That will also increase the need to hire, creating more jobs in 2021. Below are the accounting statistics and common themes coming the industry’s way in 2021.

Accounting Statistics for 2021

Cloud-based accounting will enhance many facets of accounting

  • 53% of accounting firms use cloud technology to enhance project management functions and improve communications. [1]
  • This technology will enable accounting firms to create more detailed financial reporting and data analytics. [1]
  • 67% of firms believe cloud computing will help them carry out their roles in the future. [2]
  • The cloud accounting market share could increase by as much as $4.25 billion by the year 2023. [3]

Automation is just getting started

  • 50% of C-level executives in the accounting industry expect even more development of automated accounting systems.
  • This will make it easier for accountants to do their jobs and give them time to focus on other parts of their job that may be falling behind.
  • There is the risk of jobs being cut due to automation; but the accounting industry is growing in different ways, so there will be different job opportunities created.
  • In fact, automation could replace 94% of auditors and accountants. [4]

Technology overall will improve day-to-day operations for accountants

  • 54% say technology helps provide faster service. [5]
  • 45% believe client service and satisfaction has been improved. [3]
  • 83% of accountants agree that new tech and culture of digitalization means having to invest more to keep up with the pace of growth. [3]
  • Acknowledging the role technology plays in accounting will allow firms who are serious about getting ahead to take action now and be ahead of the curve.

Accounting firms are training employees to broaden expertise

  • The following percentage of accounting firms say they will train, or currently are training, employees in new specific areas:
    • 64% in client service and management [3]
    • 63% in financial business advisory services [3]
    • 56% in project management [3]
    • 59% in business management [3]
  • Many of the same firms from the statistics above say they are even hiring new employees for those specific expertise areas. [3]

Some firms aren’t fully on board with all of the changes

  • 28% of respondents agreed that the cost of new software and staff training is what’s holding them back from implementing new technology and hiring to accommodate for all of the various changes. [3]
  • Another 16% said that the lack of available training is what’s preventing them from hiring new employees. [3]

Hiring is changing, and for the better [3]

  • 51% of respondents said that financial business advisory skills will be needed for employment in the future of accounting.
  • 82% said, however, that they are willing to hire candidates without accounting backgrounds, displaying the changing needs of the industry.
  • Skills aren’t the only thing changing in hiring. Inclusion and diversity are more important now than ever.
  • 42% (compared to 30% from 2019) are actively seeking to diversify their workforce.
  • Another 37% (compared to 28% from 2019) have written policies or commitments to diversity and inclusion.
  • This is good news, considering that the current breakdown of race in the accounting industry is as follows [6]:
    • 74.8% white
    • 12.1% black
    • 4.9% Asian

The industry has a long way to go for gender equality

  • Despite making up over 60% of the field, only 24% of women are partners in accounting firms.
  • Reported in 2020 on 2019 numbers, the gender wage gap in the accounting industry grew by 2%. [7]
  • 70.4% of women vs. 76% of men received some kind of additional compensation on top of their base salary. [7]
  • On average, women in the U.S. in the accounting industry make 86% of men’s base salaries and 85% of total compensation of that of men. [7]

The Bottom Line

The accounting industry has a lot going for it, but it also has a long way to go. Technology is already widely used; but with growing innovations in cloud-based technology and automation, accounting firms will have to get on board or risk falling behind. That’s not the only risk with advancing technology. Tons of jobs are at risk of being rendered useless once more tasks can be automated.

Technology is just one of the issues facing the industry. The advancement in that area is great and has come a long way, but the gender gap is still struggling. The numbers don’t even come close to where they should be, and the same goes for diversity and inclusion.

We can’t say whether or not you should get into the accounting industry; but with all of these statistics out in the open, you can say for yourself if it’s for you.

References

  1. TheSageNext.com. “Accounting Trends: Predicting the New Business Future 2021 and Beyond
  2. FinancesOnline.com. “11 Accounting Trends for 2020/2021: New Forecasts & What Lies Beyond?
  3. FinancesOnline.com. “82 Essential Online Accounting Statistics: 2020 Data and Market Share Analysis”
  4. Accountingtoday.com. “Why your child won’t be an accountant
  5. Sage.com. “The Practice of Now 2020
  6. DataUSA.io. “Accountants and Auditors
  7. IMAnet.org. “IMA’s 2020 U.S. Salary Survey