A new survey shows that accounting professionals are feeling optimistic about the year ahead. Using a sample of 365 CPA firms, accounting professionals and small businesses, the Right Networks 2018 Accounting Predictions survey indicated that the new tax reform legislation (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) proposal would have a positive impact on U.S. businesses.

The survey asked respondents for their level of confidence in their business heading into 2018 (compared with 2017). Nearly 54 percent said they felt “very confident” about the prospects in the coming year while another 29 percent felt “moderately confident” about 2018. Only a handful of respondents were “not confident” and none indicated they “pessimistic” about next year.

Nearly 54 percent felt “very confident” about the economy heading into 2018 compared to a year earlier. Over half felt “moderately confident” in the economy now as compared to 2017. With the overall economy in mind, the survey found that nearly 60 percent of accounting professionals sampled believe taxes will be the single biggest regulatory issue impacting their clients’ business today. Another 23 percent indicated that health care regulations are the biggest factor.

In addition to painting an optimistic picture for the coming year, the survey also noted that protecting clients’ information remains a top priority for accounting professionals. As accounting professionals plan for 2018, addressing data security remains a high – if not top – priority. The survey found that 38 percent regarded data security and privacy as the biggest technology challenge in 2017.

The survey also found that the two leading factors in implementing new business technology in 2018 are automating time-consuming administrative tasks and offering the capability to deliver a great level of service and responsiveness to clients.