Top trends in small business affecting the accounting profession
June 09, 2016

The small-business environment constantly shifts from one trend to another. Accountants and bookkeepers need to remain on top of these changes to provide the best services. Here are the top small-business trends affecting the accounting profession:

More millennials are in the workforce
Last year, the Pew Research Center found millennials make up approximately 54 percent of the workforce, officially surpassing Generation X. Many of these young employees start their own businesses or rise to positions of leadership in established companies. Since millennials are the ones calling the shots in many cases, accountants and bookkeepers need to understand their goals and working methods to better provide their services. For example, millennials are less inclined than other generations to remain loyal to a particular company, according to Gallup. Accountants and bookkeepers should work particularly hard to gain their loyalty.

Employees are taking fewer vacation days
A survey by staffing firm Accountemps found 33 percent of employees feel they don't get enough time off, but only 29 percent plan to take more vacation days than they did last year. Respondents said they worry about the amount of work waiting for them when they return and the fact that their coworkers might have to pick up the slack.

Accountants and bookkeepers who offer payroll services might start to see numbers shifting across their clients. In addition, accounting firms themselves should be on the lookout for employees who don't use their vacation time. Not taking adequate time off leads to health issues and increased levels of stress while decreasing productivity.

Hacking and ransomware are on the rise
We've all heard of data leaks and security breaches, but ransomware makes hacking an even worse threat for small businesses. Not content with simply stealing information, hackers started breaking into company computers and leaving malware that encrypts data to the point where employees can't use it. The hackers then demand a large sum of money to decrypt the files.

Hackers used ransomware to target hospitals and other medical facilities in the past, scrambling patient data and putting lives in danger unless the ransom is paid. However, as The New York Times noted, no company is too small to escape the threat. 

"Smaller companies are easier to hack," Clay Calvert, director of security at MetroStar Systems, told the publication. "They don't have the resources to set up protective barriers."

Accounting and bookkeeping firms should be particularly wary, as you have access to lots of valuable customer data. One solution is to use cloud-based accounting software from a company that prioritizes the security of you and your client.

Want to provide better service for your small-business clients? Sage Accountants Network for small business gives you the tools you need to take your business above and beyond.

Nexus: G-WEBCD2