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2024 Accounting and Legal Industry Trends: Embracing the Future

accountants law lab accounting industry trends artificial intelligence in accounting blockchain in legal contracts business innovation client data protection cloud-based software data security digital transformation financial technology (fintech) fixed fee billing future of accounting future of legal services innovative client services legal industry developments modernizing law firms payroll benefits professional services automation quickbooks online technology advancements Jan 01, 2024

As we enter 2024, I'm reflecting on the direction of our industry, particularly about my upcoming book for attorneys, titled "Modernize Your Law Firm." The book examines changes in the accounting industry since its inception.

Looking back at the past, it's clear how much progress we've made. Intuit's recent announcement that they will no longer sell QuickBooks Desktop 2024 to new customers indicates changing times. I expect desktop accounting software to become obsolete, much like fax machines.

Today, cloud-based software is the way forward, presenting bookkeepers and accountants with an excellent opportunity to transition clients away from traditional desktop software.

So, what trends should we watch for?

If I had a crystal ball, I'd predict that artificial intelligence will increasingly feature in our everyday tools. We already see this in action, particularly with software like Digits. Our podcast interview with Rob Hamilton from Digits illustrates how AI transforms the field.

Digits enables you to present reports to clients through an engaging interface. This is especially valuable when working with attorneys, who may only naturally find excitement in numbers if they have a business coach.

Intuit, the creator of QuickBooks Online, also leads in AI development. I envision a future where our bank feeds and account reconciliations happen automatically.

But what's our role in all of this?

It positions us to focus on higher-level tasks to assist our clients. While AI won't replace the need for human oversight, it will automate many routine tasks, boosting efficiency and accuracy.

However, there are challenges. With these technological advancements, we must prioritize data security. Protecting client data is crucial, and this involves educating employees to manage text messages, emails, and links with care. Products like Liscio provide high-level security to counter increasingly sophisticated data breaches.

Another area ripe for innovation is payroll benefits. Due to staffing shortages, businesses need creative strategies to attract and retain talent. This might include offering education incentives, student loan assistance, or unique perks like pet health insurance.

Hourly billing is becoming outdated. Transitioning from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online allowed us to abandon time tracking, which was a strategic move. The legal industry is ready for a shift toward fixed fees or hybrid billing models.

These are just a few of my insights. I anticipate blockchain finding more use cases in legal contracts. It's crucial to embrace technology and avoid clinging to outdated software for convenience. Remember, a while ago, we relied heavily on fax machines and manual data entry.

For those interested in staying updated on technology in the legal and accounting industries, I invite you to join the Accountants Law Lab, where we delve deeply into these topics.

Do you want to join our private group? We have a large collection of videos that you can learn from, and we hold weekly meetings every Friday at 9 am PT/12 pm ET.

We would love to have you join our group.

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