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Balance transfers to cards with zero interest (for a limited time) are a smart idea, too. Then freeze your spending for 30 days, or however long you need. It might take some time, but these days, financial freedom is well worth it.

Increase Your Retirement Funds

Good news: the maximum contribution limit for your 401(k)s increases by $1,000 in 2022 compared to 2021, for a total of $20,500. If you’re 50 or older, the limit is $27,000, which is great for those closer to retirement. If you can’t max out your contribution, just increasing it by one percent can have an incredible effect. According to calculations from Fidelity Investments, if you’re 35 and earning $60,000, this tiny bump could yield an additional $85,000 to your retirement fund over a 32-year period. That’s equal to putting aside $12 per week (how easy is that?), assuming a 5.5 percent return and consistent salary growth.

Create a Back-Up Plan

This probably isn’t something you want to think about, but it’s necessary should something happen to you. Take few minutes to update your beneficiaries on all your financial accounts, including retirement, investment and benefits accounts. Next, make sure you have a durable power of attorney, someone you trust to take care of all your monetary affairs. After this, designate a health-care proxy or power of attorney, who can speak for you if you become incapacitated. Finally, update your will. Decide who will inherit your assets. If you have children, you can even assign guardians for them. In the long run, if the worst-case scenario unfolds, you’ll save your loved ones a lot of time and trouble.

Carve Out Time for a Life Audit

This task might sound big, but it’s necessary if you want to achieve your dreams – financial or otherwise. Start with a pen or pencil, about 100 sticky notes, a journal and a large space, perhaps a door, board or wall. Turn your phone off, then get started. Look back at your life. Assess where you’ve been, where you are and where you’d like to go, then brainstorm. Do you want to save a certain amount of money this year? Put away some cash for a dream trip? Learn a language? When you think you’ve finished, then organize your goals into three categories: personal, work/career and money. After that, further divide them short-term and long-term goals. Take a photo of your notes and keep it near to remind yourself of what you’re trying to accomplish. More often than not, your dreams involve money, which is directly related to your priorities and how you budget.

Budget for 2022

Now that 2021 is in your rearview mirror (and perhaps you’ve even done a life audit), take what you’ve decided upon and create a budget you can live with. Then, download a budget app to keep you on track. If last year’s budget worked well and you’re already on your way to living your dreams, just hit “repeat.” If not, make necessary changes. That said, no matter the status of your finances, it might be a good idea to increase your emergency fund, given all the uncertainty we’re facing in our world.

If you think about it, taking time in January to look closely at your finances is kind of like going to the doctor for your yearly checkup: You want to make sure there are no red flags you need to address. After all, your fiscal health might be as important as your physical health.

Sources

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/17/use-this-checklist-to-get-your-finances-in-order-before-2022.html

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/23/why-you-should-increase-your-401k-or-ira-contributions-by-1percent.html

https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/retirement/save-more

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2022 Technology Trends for The Accounting Industry

millions of people quitting their jobs or leaving the workforce entirely. Such occurrences will increase robotic process automation (RPA) to include more efficient automation for critical functions such as payroll, purchases, invoices and payments.

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technologies

Although cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies have been around for a while, they are still difficult for most to figure out. However, there is an increased uptake of these technologies. Some countries already have allowed cryptocurrency as a legal transaction currency. As this trend continues to grow, accountants and auditors are tasked to understand these technologies so that they can offer sophisticated service to their firms or clients who invest in cryptocurrencies.

In other areas, blockchain technologies will continue being utilized in validation services such as audit and risk analysis, and balancing and sustaining accounting records.

Advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning 

According to a CNBC TEC survey, 90 percent of executives surveyed agreed that machine learning is critical for companies in 2022, with 20 percent saying they would be willing to invest money in this technology.

There will be more adoption of sophisticated AI solutions that offer better insights, help make data-driven decisions, and carry out basic tasks that take up a lot of an accountant’s time.

Machine learning will be used to develop algorithms that learn patterns in accounting tasks to help reduce mistakes early and avoid wasting time looking for errors. It also will be useful for audits and predictive analytics to forecast future trends.

Although AI and ML may not work well in areas that require creativity and intuition, they can help aid decision-making.

Data Security

All the advanced technologies mentioned above offer promising benefits. However, they also present a new problem in data security. For instance, remote accounting adds a vulnerability that allows cybercriminals to gain access to a company network. Considering that the accounting department holds crucial financial data that attackers target, security is critical for any business.

With cybercriminals using advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, it is now more important than ever to harden access to corporate data. Therefore, there will be more defensive cybersecurity services to handle the rise in security issues that come with technology growth.

Conclusion 

As we forge ahead in the new year, one thing is certain: Technology will continue to be a main driver in the accounting industry. This creates a need for upskilling to evolve with new accounting roles. It also helps to be conversant with technologies that will help meet client demands. 

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