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With 2018 firmly in the rear vision mirror, and experiences such as the Banking Royal Commission highlighting the importance of improving professionalism, transparency and accountability in our financial institutions, 2019 is the year for change.

Advice today released by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) says key business predictors for this year will present many challenges for accountants and finance experts alike, and hopefully some opportunities as well.

“As we embrace the new year, our attention shifts from the challenges of the year just gone, to what’s on the horizon ahead,” a CA ANZ spokesperson said.

“The reality is that the accounting and finance industry is evolving at a rapid pace – and it’s important that we are agile enough, as both individuals and businesses, to adapt to what’s next”.

So, what does the next 12 months hold?

CA ANZ’s accounting experts detail their five key predictions for the accounting and finance industry in 2019:


Cyber-attacks are here to stay

Cyber-attacks are becoming more challenging, extensive and dangerous.

Cyber security concerns are front of mind as these attacks are affecting not only small businesses and companies, but also cities and countries.

Experts advise to start preparing as if they will be subject to a cyber-attack, which includes having a plan for recovery to ensure your business is cyber resilient.


Super overhaul

The superannuation industry is likely to be in for a major shake-up this year.

Experts predict superannuation matters will be dominated by the final recommendations of the Royal Commission, the federal election, and the recently released final report into the efficiency of the superannuation industry by the Productivity Commission.

These could bring about significant change for underperforming super funds, APRA and ASIC’s roles in regulating superannuation entities, bans on ongoing service and advice fees, and potential penalties for trustees.

Many are also keenly awaiting to see whether the Government will be able to finally gain support from crossbenchers to push through its superannuation reforms after a lack of support last year.

But it’s not all doom and gloom for 2019. Some impressive advancements are predicted to continue to propel us into a future, customer friendly world.


The future is now

We often hear about how robotics has entered many industries. Nowhere is it more apparent than in the accounting industry.

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) will become the norm and, in fact, expected as many accounting packages will continue to build in AI capacity this year.

These are exciting times for a field that is historically known for its reliance on paperwork.

However, experts advise those who are turning to AI-enabled software to ensure their processes are right in the first place because automating an inefficient process will defeat the purpose of using this software.

It is also easy to accept AI because of the benefits it offers our businesses, jobs and lives but also ensure you reflect on the ethical considerations when integrating AI into their businesses.

In 2019, we need to embrace and lead AI in socially responsible ways.


Smarter streamlined regulation

The need for red tape reductions and better law enforcement will continue to drive Government to adopt smarter streamlined regulation.

This is good news for everyone.

It is likely the Government will increase its focus on modernising business registers, facilitating better exchanging of business information between government entities especially to tackle phoenix operators and improved data analytics to allow the Australian Tax Office to focus on taxpayer segments that were previously considered to be too small, such as small business and individuals.

In the spirit of efficiency, 2019 will see the continued development of the Australian financial reporting framework.

This will be a collaborative effort and it is hoped it will create a simpler, clearer framework that better matches reporting obligations to entities based on a set of objective criteria.


Digital is the new black – only, this fad won’t pass

Small-medium enterprises have a huge appetite to take their businesses digital.

This year, it is likely that more and more SMEs will look to their financial services experts, particularly their accountants, to help them usher their business into the digital age.

Experts predict the focus on digital in 2019 will lead to the extension of single touch payroll to small employers.

It is also likely that e-invoicing standards will be developed in a coordinated way across Australia and New Zealand.

The government is also predicted to announce further initiatives in 2019 to encourage all small businesses to be digitally connected.

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