Last week, my business partner Rob Nixon wrote a blog about Rising Tides in the accounting profession. As usual, Rob is right on the money. I have a couple of thoughts to add to Rob’s:
1. Technology – the mass adoption of Cloud accounting is coming. The rate of growth in the market is such that it is inevitable that the ‘tipping point’ will be reached where the sceptical majority will jump on board, just as what happened with Internet banking. The critical point for accountants to grasp is that accurate management information will be much more readily available to clients. Accountants need to use their analytical skills to help their clients understand the reports coming out of the Cloud accounting systems. If all they do is print the report and send it to the client, where is the value? Unless accountants find new ways to add value to compliance, they can expect more fee pressure very soon
2. Tax simplification – I have been talking about this for some time as a threat to the accountant’s core service. I had almost given up on it being a major issue because of the sloth-like political machinations at play. Tax simplification appears to be on every governments agenda but never quite makes the cut. However, I read an article in my member magazine of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales recently, penned by the current President, Mark Spofforth. Mark writes of an idea gaining credence in the UK whereby it might soon be possible for small businesses to complete their tax returns and declare their profits using data sucked straight from their bank accounts – at the push of a button. Mark contends that there is no need for accountants to be concerned because there will still be plenty of small businesses who call upon an accountant for tax planning advice. He is correct – but the need for the accountant to be even more proactive and top of mind with clients becomes stronger and stronger as changes such as this one become more imminent.
My advice for all accountants is to set aside some time to plan for the future, bearing in mind the Rising Tides. There is work to be done in virtually every firm to ensure you don’t miss the wave.