Mike Hutchinson, the founder of Cornish firm The Peloton and upcoming Accounting Excellence panellist, explains how technology has dispelled the perception that accountants are boring.
Let’s face it, as accountants we’re boring. Or at least perceived to be boring. And given that perception is more important than reality that's a tough place to start each day. I’ll be honest, there is still a very large part of our profession that are doing everything they can to protect that image.
I was looking at an article the other day about a group of accountants who were shouting that oft-used phrase “but we’re different”. But the only thing I could see was that they were all wearing luminous green ties.
Why is it that when accountants want to be really different they have do something daft, rather than different?
I remember going to a trade show where one accountant decided that his standout feature was Mickey Mouse. So he had Mickey Mouse cartoons playing on a TV above his stall and was giving away all sorts of Mickey Mouse paraphernalia.
When I see that sort of thing I either rub my hands together and think that’s left the door open, or I want to just run for the hills and retrain as a yoga instructor.
An unlikely saviour
But, if you’re not careful, that could all be changing and weirdly the legislation that we’ve all been tearing our hair out over the last couple of years could also be our saviour. I’m talking MTD here!
I was about to say “trust me, it’s the best thing that’s happened to our profession, not the worst,” but I think the trust thing may be a bit strong. But it is driving people to use technology whether you want them too or not. And that’s a good thing, right?
I don’t know where you are on your tech journey but I have masses of evidence that suggests a large number of people will be out of work unless they do a massive hand brake turn in their business strategy in the next couple of months and start to fully embrace it.
More exciting than ‘dress down Fridays’
This is an exciting phase for us all, and it’s not optional. You are going to be fun and interesting no matter what ridiculous coloured tie you choose to wear. Standard.
I’m probably about 100 years older than most of you and all that gives me is the right to see our profession through a whole host of various phases, but this is, without a shadow of doubt, the most exciting one we’ve ever been in (even more exciting than ‘dress down Friday’).
But let’s also be clear what we are talking about, it’s largely to do with the likes of Xero/QBO and all those amazing apps that work with them.
Take something as simple as one of the OCR apps like Datamolino or Receipt Bank; you can now amaze your non-accounting friends by whipping your phone out of your pocket, take a photo of the receipt you’ve just received, upload it and all the details are captured without anyone lifting a finger.
That has got to be magic (maybe the guy with the Disney characters was way ahead of time?).
But believe it or not bank feeds are a talking point. Clients who’ve never seen cloud accounting software are quietly amazed at the prospect that every last detail from their bank statements is replicated in their accounts software, even before they’ve had their breakfast of boiled egg and soldiers. It’s brilliant!
Those of you who are all over this will have switched off ages ago, but if you haven’t got your head around this stuff (and I know you’re out there) then you’re in for a treat.
Reignite your passion
No longer do you have to wear revolving bow ties that flash whenever the phone rings or have a menu of interesting teas printed out on the wall behind reception, you can just have an honest conversation about stuff you know loads about.
It will reignite that fire in your belly and your clients will feed off that overflowing enthusiasm and passion. And in no time, you’ll be their best friend (and their friends best friend through all the recommendations).
Exciting times and don’t forget to write your thank you letters to HMRC for driving our clients into this corral and giving our profession a long overdue makeover.
Mike Hutchinson will explain what tech has brought to his practice and will reveal his processes when selecting new tech on next week’s FREE Accounting Excellence webcast: New tax season, new software. Sign up here.
About Mike Hutchinson
Mike Hutchinson is the founder of Cornwall-based firm The Peloton. Financial Historian, Property Portfolio Owner, Business Coach, Creative, Innovator, Entrepreneur, Vintage boat owner, kitesurfer, ex news paper boy, cycle proficiency badge, just some of the achievements Mike has made on his journey so far.