How tech will liberate accountants

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Is this technological explosion we’re witnessing really a threat to the profession? Or is it the biggest opportunity for accountants to seize?

Many years ago, businesses used to really value the year-end accounts that their accountant would produce for them, they’d spend time analysing the data, adapting their strategy, and tweaking their tactics in order to keep their business on track.

This technological era we live in has accelerated life itself, it’s accelerated the way people do business and it’s accelerated the way people want to do business.

By today’s standards, year-end accounts represent a period of time too far in the past. The environment has changed, the strategy has changed and the data has little meaning.

The only beneficiaries of a business’s year-end accounts are companies house/HMRC. The business owner reluctantly seeks out an accountant to produce their accounts for submission. Because they don’t value their accounts very much, they don’t want to pay very much.

Compliance fees are continually being challenged, accountants are having to work with more clients to generate their income - working harder, earning little and having little impact.

Technology is improving exponentially; recently it’s been aiding accountants by largely automating much of the low-level mundane work such as bank reconciliation.

The balance between human intervention and automation is gradually shifting. The skills required of an accountant to produce the accounts will rapidly diminish as software improves.

That can be seen as a threat. I believe it’s a fantastic opportunity.

Let the software produce the accounts, in fact why wait for the software to be ready, outsource the accounts production now. Why waste your professional skills producing accounts when they could be put to such better use?

You are no longer working with a business entity, there is no more B2B or B2C, that distinction has ended. It’s all about H2H.

Rather than spending the majority of your time producing compliance accounts, free up your time to spend building relationships up with your clients. Spend time getting to know them better, get to know more about their business aspirations and their dreams.

Take the accounts that you get produced and breathe life into the numbers; help your clients understand the numbers and interpret them. Provide insights into how to make the numbers better.

Make a shift in your practice from compliance being the core service, to business advisory being the core service.

When promoted and delivered correctly, business owners will happily pay a premium for business advisory services from their accountant. That means you don’t need to work with as many clients. That translates to working less, earning more.

Look out for my follow up postings every couple of weeks to learn more about how to make this transition that’s far more financially and emotionally rewarding, and not such a difficult transition as you may be thinking.

About shane1812

Shane Lukas

Managing Director of AVN, an association for accountants, helping them become more successful and have more enjoyment.

Amazon #1 best selling author of What’s Next for Accountants:  How to make the biggest threat facing the profession your biggest opportunity.

Personal motivation:  To help people everywhere improve their ability to make choice.  Whether it's freedom of choice, the brains ability to make choice, or improving the lifestyle choices business owners can make where they feel they have no choice but to work too hard to keep the income coming in.

 

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By Peter Cane
04th Apr 2017 09:59

"Is this technological explosion we're witnessing really a threat to the profession?"

No, of course it isn't and I think very few people on this forum think it is. The problem with the current move to MTD is that it's a threat to small businesses and a penalty farming exercise, designed to rake in more money to the coffers of the treasury.

The accountancy profession will be left to pick up the pieces when MTD comes in and try and help as many clients as possible to manage their obligations, with many self employed people either disappearing into the black economy or being forced to give up their businesses and go back into employment for bigger firms.

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Replying to Peter Cane:
Shane Lukas
By shane1812
04th Apr 2017 11:41

100% agree with your comment Peter Cane, I wasn't referring to MTD as the threat. Longer term, MTD is a great opportunity to begin building better relationships up with clients since more interaction will be required.

The threat/opportunity I refer to is that technology is getting smarter every day and the balance between automation and human intervention required to produce compliance accounts will change.

This change has some accountants worrying that the value of what they deliver will deteriorate and clients will challenge fees even more than they do now as they discover that software is automating an ever increasing degree of compliance production.

That is likely to happen if accountants purely stick to producing compliance work.

There are a great many accountants primarily focusing on just that and I fear those will suffer unless they make the shift in their practice I refer to and will continue to expand on in future articles.

Hope that makes sense, I appreciate you reading my article and commenting Peter.

Shane

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