Out of interest, does anyone know how Propel by Deloitte is doing?
Looked good initially but the website has less information than it used to.
The department must be in a pretty sorry state as they seemingly didn't even try and sell it. Not sure how many clients they had but a staff complement of 200 means it would have been a pretty sizeable number. Nice add on for someone like Crunch et al.
Is this only for SA returns filed online using HMRCs software. If you used third party software to submit, will your clients still be affected?
Not sure home many people will do it themselves
A few of my clients are accounting contractors. Some of them I trained with whilst doing articles. They are more than capable of doing their own returns, I have even offered to give them access to my software so that they could cost effectively do it themselves (they are friends and I would rather they did their own accounts) and they are just not interested.
So whilst the advent of technology may cause many to do it themselves, many will not.
I could easily wash my own car but I still pay someone to do it and I think the principle is the same. It would be far quicker for me to do it if I took the time it takes to drive to the carwash into account but I still don't / won't.
Disruptive yes - not only in their own heads
Actually, while others might choose to describe Xero as being a disruptive technology, we generally tend to avoid that label ourselves.
Whilst you may not use that term yourselves I do believe you have been disruptive (in a positive sense) otherwise I do not think that you would have had the uptake that you've had.
None of the above
Personally I am of the sell up now and leave the industry frame of mind. I just don't see the point of staying in the industry much longer or having it as my main income.
The three biggest risks are:
1. Technological change reducing need for accountants. A lot of clients are not interested in the value add. They are just too small and a lot of them don't want to grow at all. There is a need for value adding accountants but value added services will not sustain us all as compliance dwindles.
2. Flood of new entrants as large companies automate financial function / outsource offshore leaving trained accountants who can't find work and so start accounting businesses.
3. Legislation changes that will reduce the amount of contractor clients. Whilst i don't market to this group, it is by far the biggest area of my business that has grown via word of mouth. There is little value you can add to compliance services in this area.
It is easy to say I will leave and do something else but a lot harder to do in reality. However possibly the time is now right to honestly assess the future for accountants. I am a huge admirer of what Xero has done to the industry and I don't even think they have fully grasped how quickly this industry will change going forward (maybe they have and just don't want to frighten us).
But I am conscious of the whole boiling frog syndrome.
I like Xero but
I use Xero for all my clients and I also dabble with ReceiptBank and CrunchBoards. I like cloud accounting because it gives me flexibility. It is not the solution for everyone but it is for me and my clients.
However, I do have an uneasy feeling that us accountants are the pawns in our own demise. As bookkeeping and compliance are automated, Xero et al say we must add more value to our clients. Fine, but how long before intelligent software takes even that away from us (or auditors)? As 'big data' grows, software will be able add 95% of the value we provide clients, the remaining 5% being, being able to pat the client on the back and say everything will be OK.
I recently told my account manager at one of my cloud accounting software providers (I wont say which) that I wasn't their salesman, I had spoken to my client about their software and the client didn't want to use it, period. He couldn't get it and got frustrated with me because I wouldn't push his product. And for me it was a real eye opener on how the cloud solution providers see us accountants.
Business development takes a huge amount of energy (well for me it does) and I am wondering whether spending my most productive years building something (a cloud based accounting practice) that is ultimately leading to its own demise, is worth it.
100% cloud based?
What does she use for accounts prep?
As far as I was aware there was no cloud based solution or is a hosted desktop solution considered cloud based as well?
My practice is '100%' cloud based as well with the exception of accounts preparation which still requires a desktop solution. Would like to find and fit the final piece of the puzzle.
I had a client
1. That told me when he asked me for tax advice on an family business issue, 'you're just an accountant, we're business men and tend to know more about these things' He didn't take my advice and was slapped with a £400k bill from the taxman.
2. Asked for my advice again, didn't take it and was hammered by Revenue in Ireland for €13K
3. Most recently asked why I wasted my time and his with Xero when excel did a better job as an accounting tool.
Told him to take his money elsewhere which he didn't like. Problem is he is was bestman at my wedding and I at his. Awkward but he was the one who brought the disrespect into the relationship.
at a party wince when they ask you what you do and you answer 'an accountant' - its happened many times now. I now follow up with "well someones got to do it."
I wish I could think of a better way to explain what I do without lying and without sounding cheesy. I think people think that I am about to start networking with them when I tell them I am an accountant.
A few times I have told people that I am an accountant at a party and they refuse to believe that I am. Its either a good thing (not a boring accountant) or a bad thing (not very professional)!