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Future 2024 trends: Four-day work weeks and super computers

Written on Apr 11, 2024

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager  

The pace of change will never again be as slow as it is today, which requires leaders to stay aware of future trends that could impact business.  

OSCPA spoke with Dave Staley, futurist and associate professor in the Department of History at The Ohio State University, about the trends the accounting profession should be aware of this year and beyond. He said there are five categories to watch: society, technology, economics, environment and politics. 


It’s no secret the pandemic changed the way people work, Staley said, and that it’s had a long-term impact on employees’ desire to work from home. Workers are looking for more control over their work lives. Staley shared that a recent survey found people would take less pay for the chance to work from home.  

“This is a moment where workers have a certain amount of leverage that they haven't had for a long time,” he said. “And that doesn't mean unionism. That doesn't mean strikes. But that does mean more worker activism or worker agitation.”  

Four-day workweeks are becoming more popular for companies as well, he said, and a recent trial of select U.K. companies found that the four-day work week benefited everyone, from workers to managers. A four-day work week gives professionals more control over their lives, and although this probably won’t be as popular as hybrid or remote work, more companies could begin to explore this option as they look for ways to attract and retain top talent.  


While generative AI is on everyone’s minds, something else to be aware of is quantum computing, Staley said, which is based on the physical hardware of a computer. According to IBM, quantum computing is “… a rapidly emerging technology that harnesses the laws of quantum mechanics to solve problems too complex for classical computers.”  

“The really interesting stuff comes from asking what this could possibly be used for?” Staley said. “One of the first things is encryption. It will make encryption incredibly difficult.”  

Quantum computing could also delve into very complicated financial portfolios and offer predictions that haven’t been possible before because the systems are so complex. Quantum computing has been mostly theoretical for years, Staley said, and companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Google and Amazon are working on making it a reality. While accountants probably won’t be tasked with understanding quantum computing anytime soon, it’s important they be aware of incoming tech trends and what it could mean for their businesses and clients.  

“We could see one of these companies succeeding and producing a quantum computer,” he said. “And the race would be on.”   

Next week: Read CPA Takeaways next week to learn more about Staley’s trend predictions for economics, environment and politics. 

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