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

As an accountant or bookkeeper who works with small businesses - or whose firm is a small organization itself - you should be aware of the various trends affecting these types of companies. Doing so allows you to better manage your business and provide excellent service to your clients. Here are the top business trends that affect your profession:

Stagnant economic growth leads to tentative hiring practices
CBC News reported Canada's jobless rate hit a three-year high after losing 2,300 jobs in February. This news is disheartening, as economists predicted the country would add 8,500 jobs. Most of the losses were full-time positions, although the damage was offset somewhat by additional part-time jobs.

These numbers are a result of Canada's low economic growth. The nation's gross domestic product rose in the first quarter at a rate of less than 1 percent, Canadian Business reported. Accountants and bookkeepers who help their clients with payroll should take note, and firms should keep an eye on the economy when hiring themselves.

Cloud becomes more ingrained in business activities
As The Huffington Post noted, more businesses see the benefit of switching their legacy software to cloud programs. Moving applications like customer support and accounting software to the cloud drastically reduces the overhead needed to maintain computers and servers. In addition, employees have access to the programs and files they need while traveling or working from home. All that's required is a stable internet connection.

Businesses are threatened by hacking
Unfortunately, online threats are still incredibly prevalent, especially in the retail industry. According to Verizon's latest Data Breach Investigations Report, many businesses aren't taking the necessary precautions to prevent a cyberattack. Several companies don't use payment systems that require two-factor authentication, which security experts say is a best practice. Others simply don't have a firewall installed or use default passwords.

Your clients are in for a world of hurt if they get targeted by hackers. Canadian Manufacturing reported on a survey that found small businesses each lose about $32,000 to cybercriminals. For a company without many resources, this could mean going out of business. Accountants and bookkeepers should keep their eye on the state of online security and guide their clients to use firewalls, unique passwords and other safety measures. Accounting firms should take these measures as well, as no industry is immune to the threat of a cyberattack.  

Want to stay on top of the trends? Sage Accountants Network for small business helps you manage your work load, providing optimal service for each of your clients 

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