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Despite their fears about technology, accountants admit that automation is a key part of their future. An international study reveals that 86  accounting experts perceive as the benefits of technology the freeing of their administrative tasks, and the opportunity to focus on their clients and develop their practices.
Sage, the market leader in cloud accounting software, today publishes the results of a new international survey of 700 accounting experts that shows that the profession’s perceptions of automation are changes as its benefits become evident. This is paving the way for a new era in accounting practices.
  • 38 of the accountants surveyed said that the amount of time they spend on their calculations is one of their biggest frustrations.
  • 32 use manual methods to keep their clients’ accounts, 25 of them using Excel and 7 using handwritten notes.
  • 86 of the accounting experts indicated that they would appreciate technology giving them the means to get rid of their administrative tasks, to focus on their clients and develop their value-added missions.
  • 23 agree that they would take time off because of the time that automation would allow them to earn.

The report “Accounting Expertise 2.0”, commissioned by Sage to an independent research firm, Viga, reveals that 96 of the international respondents are confident about the future of their profession and their role, 68 anticipate a change in their role as a result of the introduction of automated systems.

Other findings from this study:

Cloud adoption: Cloud solutions win the support of accounting experts.

  • 57 of respondents in several countries confirm that their firm is investing in the best technologies, including cloud technologies, to help them deliver optimal services to their clients
  • 67 have adopted a cloud solution dedicated to managing their practices
  • Security is considered one of the main obstacles to the adoption of cloud technology (37), with 14 of the accountants surveyed stating, however, that this is a concern of their customers.

Administration and automation: a mixed perception of the benefits of technology

  • A large proportion of participants (86 ) surveyed around the world agreed that automating data entry and reporting activities would allow them to spend more time creating valuable services added to their customers
  • 38 of the accountants surveyed believe that the greatest threat to their profession comes from new emerging technologies that could replace them at certain levels
  • Slightly less than half of participants (47 ) indicated that their greatest frustration was the tedious obtaining of financial information from their clients

Looking ahead – A breath of optimism: Despite their fears and frustrations, accountants are optimistic about the future of their profession

  • 96 of those surveyed are confident about the future of the accounting sector and their role
  • 43 believe it will evolve due to the automation of their administrative tasks
  • More than half of the accountants surveyed (53) believe that their role tends to become more strategic and believe that they are able to provide more financial and professional advice to their clients


The “Accounting 2.0” study was conducted by the research and data collection firm Viga, on behalf of Sage, between February 13 and 27, 2017. Coming from seven regions, including the United Kingdom,the United States,Australia, Canada, France,Spain andIreland,700 accounting experts, all profiles combined, have responded to an online questionnaire.