The Hinge Research Institute recently conducted a survey to better understand the business challenges of 2015. The institute surveyed close to 530 professional services companies across a wide range of industries. Amongst these, 17 percent of the companies were in the finance and accounting industries. Most of the firms that took part in the survey generated less than $5 million a year in revenue and a vast number of respondents were considered decision makers in their respective firms.
The survey results revealed many surprising insights within the accounting industry. It found that the top business challenge in 2015 for accounting firms in general was “attracting and developing new businesses.” In fact, close to 70 percent of the respondents from accounting firms felt that more needed to be done to generate better business opportunities during the New Year. This was a top issue with most other professional service firms as well, which suggests that identifying and developing new business opportunities is a widespread issue.
The second biggest business challenge for accounting and finance firms was identified to be finding and retaining good employees. Even with the economy on the slow road to recovery, many industries have failed to properly track rates of attrition. Close to 51.1 percent of respondents from accounting and finance firms felt ‘finding and keeping good people’ needed to be a top priority in 2015.
Other challenges that received heavy emphasis in the accounting industry included leadership and the ability to adapt to new and emerging technologies. Survey results showed 33 percent and 30.7 percent of respondents voting in favor of leadership and technology respectively. This is a considerable deviation from the overall survey results, where only 21.1 percent of respondents felt ‘leadership’ was a major business challenge for 2015 and challenges related to ‘technology’ yielded no significant results.