Professional Tax Software
Tax & AccountingNovember 22, 2021

New Wolters Kluwer survey of tax & accounting professionals identifies key underlying factors driving firm growth and profitability

Successful firms navigated the pandemic by accelerating digital transformation, by embracing new ways of working with clients, and by shifting away from compliance to higher-value advisory services.
Today, Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting announced a new report with key findings from its annual survey of tax & accounting professionals – 2021 BEYOND LIMITS: The People, Processes and Technologies Driving High-Growth Accounting Firms. In its 15th year, this annual survey of the profession found that the global pandemic has accelerated the pace of digital transformation of firms and changed the way they work with clients.

“Firms face many challenges, from new compliance pressures and rapid pace of legislative change to greater competition for talent,” said Jason Marx, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting North America. “Seeking continued growth, firms will need to go beyond traditional business practices and rethink their approaches to people, processes, and technology. It is through digital transformation that successful firms will be able to more rapidly adapt to the changing landscape, to transition faster to higher valued advisory roles, and to leverage those capabilities into a business advantage.”

Detailed findings from the 2021 BEYOND LIMITS: The People, Processes and Technologies Driving High-Growth Accounting Firms survey are available in this report. Some of the key findings fall into three main themes.

Rapid Change Has Become the Norm
The pace of legislative change has not slowed and keeping track of legislative changes posed a problem for more than 50% of surveyed firms. Despite these challenges, 36% of small firms and 45% of large firms reported this year’s tax season was somewhat or much better than last year.
  • 94% of large firms and 90% of small firms are looking to technology to help achieve an improved tax season

Move Beyond Tax Compliance Requires Empowered Staff
Forward thinking firms are working to meet the evolving needs of clients. Expanding advisory and consulting services requires firms to move beyond a compliance mindset and empower professionals to make decisions and add value for clients. Recruiting and retaining the right staff has never been more critical for firm success; it’s also never been more difficult.

  • More than 60% of large firms are reporting that technology is helping with staff engagement and morale — two factors critical to retaining staff

High-growth Firms Are Moving Beyond Convention
As firms embraced digital transformation, new demands from clients and professionals required them to rethink approaches to process optimization.

  • 43% of surveyed firms indicated they are making moves to downgrade their brick-and-mortar presence and/or transition to a virtual only presence
  • This year, most tax returns were prepared with no in office contact with taxpayers. On the audit side, there was much less in person interaction with clients, as well

About the 2021 Beyond Limits Survey
The “2021 BEYOND LIMITS: The People, Processes and Technologies Driving High-Growth Accounting Firms” survey was conducted by Wolters Kluwer in 2021 with a total of 839 professionals from tax and accounting firms. It covered a range of topics regarding current and future trends in the tax and accounting profession as well as current and future trends in tax and accounting technology.


About Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer (EURONEXT: WKL) is a global leader in information, software solutions and services for professionals in healthcare; tax and accounting; financial and corporate compliance; legal and regulatory; corporate performance and ESG. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with technology and services.

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