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15 Accounting courses and trends to focus on in 2021

15 Accounting courses and trends to focus on in 2021

Like other life fields, accounting trends are also going to change post-COVID-19. The most

visible and predictable movement will be the inclusion of technology into accounting practices. The major change will be seen in accounting qualification that will include technology, particularly AAT courses that will consist of more knowledge of digital accounting

Other major changes in accounting in the following and upcoming years are listed below.

Accounting courses and Digital transformation

It is a need of time and the future is going to witness the digital transformation of accounting fields in the coming decade. The businesses will work based on digital technology help, and accountants will effectively utilise it to explore and generate new revenues, growth channels, subscription models, and physical and digital products. 

However, adjusting technology with accounting and tailoring accounting to support the accounting practice is a challenging task. Thus, accountants need to work out ways to keep the process. 

Data analytics and forecasting tools

One of the biggest accounting trend changes in 2021 will be the increased utilisation of

forecasting, budgeting, and planning software for data analytics and visualisation. Finance is becoming more analytical day by day, and businesses are leaving the traditional practice to become more proactive.

Therefore, enterprises seek more analytical and tech aware accountants to support their company finances and accounting departments. Many training institutions have initiated courses to increase the analytical skills of accounting students to develop strong problem-solving, critical thinking, and technological skills. It will allow forming effective business strategies in future. 

Role of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence has made its mark in accounting and is expected to impact future accounting and finance in a great deal. Businesses are utilising artificial intelligence and robotic process automation to computerise repetitive and tedious tasks to save time for more important tasks. The important functions that can be automated include lease analysis, invoices generation, daily finance report, and capturing data quickly on the commencement date. 

Accounting Software

Merging and standardising the transaction data from various sources in multiple forms is important for data harmonisation. We mean integrating the structured, unstructured, and semi-structured data into a single system by harmonising data. However, artificial intelligence works only on large data and needs verification and review by accountants.

Here the effective future accounting trend, accounting software are utilised to improve the data visualisation and interpretation. The software helps perform most accounting tasks, including supply chain, pays and invoices, and generating financial statements. Examples of accounting software include Xero, Sage, QuickBooks, and Advanced Excel.

Technology and Automation

The most prominent feature of change in accounting trends is automation and technology in accounting. Automation is the most exciting development in the accounting industry, eliminating the accountant’s effort in minor tasks, allowing them more time for analytical decision-making. 

The main automation processes include bank reconciliations, approval workflows, inter-industry consolidation, journal entries, revenue generation, depreciation, and lease accounting. 

Whilst the significance and charm of automated processes prevail, the lack of technological understanding will impact the process. 

Online Collaboration and Remote Workforce

 Another increasing accounting trend is the remote workforce and remote working utilising cloud-based software. Cloud-based accounting facilitates accountants from different places and locations to collaborate and discuss critical financial processes. Online accounting will need effective collaborative tools such as Zoom, cloud-based file sharing, and functional and fort collaboration tools for e-signature. 

Data Security

Online and remote businesses are prone to theft and corruption from other parties and hackers. Data breaches risks are now bigger than ever, and finance departments are the most attractive target. The breaches leak business secrets, personal data, credit card details, and spoofing of emails. 

Therefore, future accounting qualifications, including AAT courses, need the training to recognise potential leaks and harmful attacks. Accounting courses in future must consist of cybersecurity for your organisation.

Changes in Tax Policy

The changes in accounting practices and services have triggered new legislative changes in the tax policies and legislation in the UK and worldwide. The national and international governments seek to modify their legislation and tax regulation such as tax extenders, expense deductions, simplified PPP loans, and second draw PPP loans. 

The changes in tax policy include understanding tax liability and navigating the shift of traffic and trade policies are vital to working in future accounting fields.

Statutory and Regulatory Compliance

In addition to tax policy and regulation, finance and accounting experts must be aware of state regulations and policies. Future accountants must be mindful of regulatory compliance such as coronavirus protocols, leadership changes, MTD of VAT, and other procedures.  


Outsourcing is another prevailing trend in future accounting where organisations of different sizes prefer outsourcing their various accounting and finance functions. Small companies utilise the outsourcing process to decrease additional expenses. Larger organisations use outsourcing for accounts payable to save their money. 

An advantage of using outsourcing is to have greater access to wider skillsets, expertise, and technologies.

Accounting Standards

 The future accounting trends will also see a change in Financial Accounting Standard Board (FASB) issuing new updates in accounting standards that impact financial statements and GAAP compliance. The major changes by 2021 will include asset acquisition, debt securities, credit losses, reorganisations, leases, banking regulation disclosure, and variable interest entities. 

Proactive Accounting

The new trends in accounting will require proactive accountants who can work with the flow and have greater flexibility to adjust their businesses with circumstances. AAT courses would require an upgrade, including proactive and analytical skills in their accounting skill-building courses. Automation processes will allow you to perform repetitive tasks that will increase data integrity and efficiency. 

Workplace Wellness

The increasing job roles and management of the business in different countries with different time zones will require extra efforts and activeness by the accountants. It can impact their health and wellbeing, making them vulnerable to burnout and stress. Therefore, business organisations need to include workplace wellness programs to improve the health and wellness of their employees. 

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG)

ESG is being incorporated in businesses, and it is expected that future companies will have regulations related to these areas. The companies need to ensure that their industries and products are not causing financial risks or greenhouse gases emissions in the atmosphere. Moreover, they need to consider the social aspects of their business. It will require an update in accounting AAT courses and others to inform respective responsibilities to accountants. 


These 15 accounting trends are the future of accounting and accounting training centres and institutes offering accounting knowledge, and AAT courses must consider these points during students’ training.


Will technology overtake accounting?

Technology is the inevitable future of this world and will take over every aspect of life, including accounting. The digitalisation of accounting courses and accounting software in practice will control future accounting.

Do I need to go digital?

As an accountant, you must go digital and adopt MTD for VAT and other accounting regulations and standards to improve practice.

What skills do I need for accounting in 2021?

To progress in accounting in 2021, you need to become tech-savvy and analytical to take strategic decisions for your company.