Richard Hattersley sits down with three innovative practitioners to find out how they differentiate themselves beyond cloud adoption.
A common misconception is that once you’ve adopted cloud tools you’re a pioneering firm. But it takes much more than that to be part of the innovative vanguard.
It’s not a coincidence that more firms are flocking towards cloud accounting systems. The government’s ongoing digital ambitions have nudged cloud into the accounting mainstream. While the definition of what it takes to be a “modern firm” differs from firm to firm, what’s now clear is that cloud alone won’t cut it.
Video panel: Pioneers beyond the cloud
In this video filmed at Accountex 2018, AccountingWEB assembled a panel of digital experts featuring Will Farnell, Alex Falcon Huerta and Simon Kallu to chew over some of the other elements that make a pioneering firm.
Will Farnell, the founder of 100% cloud-based firm Farnell Clarke, has used technology as his firm’s USP for the last nine years but he’s recognised a shift in client expectations. “Everyone can buy the same technology that we might have been using before everybody else, but that’s not enough anymore,” he told AccountingWEB at Accountex.
“It’s about how you can use that technology to enhance the experience that clients get from working with us as accountants.”
This is not to say that you’re not ‘modern’ if you only just implemented cloud accounting systems because as Simon Kallu from SRK Accounting told us, “85% of businesses are not in the cloud, so it still makes you modern to be able to help people move to the cloud.” But those pioneering firms are using the tech to thrive in other areas.
“To be an ultra-modern firm it’s about using those numbers that sit within the cloud and how you use the numbers to tell a story,” said Kallu. “I think that in five to ten years the compliance side will be gone. People won’t necessarily come to accountants for accounts filing. Certain firms might help with tax planning. We like to help with strategic coaching.”
As accountants shift towards advisory firms, they are placing more emphasis on attributes such as people skills. Alex Falcon-Huerta from Soaring Falcon Accountancy has coaching sessions with her team to ensure that they can speak to the client in a language that they’ll understand. “It is really important that they understand how to communicate to the client. The technology is amazing but we still need to explain to that client what that information is telling us.”
About Richard Hattersley
Richard is AccountingWEB's practice correspondent. If you have any comments or suggestions for us get in touch.