I am hearing with more and more regularity from our friends in New Zealand that increasing price pressure is being put on compliance based services offered by accountants. The rapid adoption of Cloud based accounting systems in New Zealand, coupled with accounting firms outsourcing compliance work, means that accountants who are not embracing new technologies are struggling to compete. I recently heard of one progressive accounting firm putting all of their clients onto Cloud accounting then outsourcing all of the processing. They have hired a small number of senior accountants with a commercial bent, whose role is to visit business clients four times a year and look for opportunities for additional, value based projects. From the client’s perspective, the price of compliance has gone down and overall service has improved – markedly.
The same impact will be felt in Australia any time soon. Clients are going to cotton on to the fact that your cost of processing has fallen dramatically and they will expect the savings to be passed onto them. Compliance is truly becoming a commodity.
If you are an accountant, what is your response to this? Do you die a slow death or do you get on the front foot, embrace technology, implement a comprehensive client communication program with quarterly, onsite visits at its core and utilize best practice business improvement tools and systems to improve your clients’ condition? I know which choice I would prefer.