Published Date: 15-Sept-2020
As part of CIEXs plan to introduce US members to our network, which will open up direct access to deal opportunities in the US for our European members and vice versa, we want to share some industry insights from the US.
In an excellent special feature entitled “ When Trust is not Enough “ by Derrick Lilly the Illinois CPA Society explore the future of their industry. With key concepts like relevance, sustainability, value and trust resonating through the article he paints a picture which closely mirrors the European experience. The article points to a development path which, even though it is being forced on the industry, leads to greater returns, sustainability and a continuance of the relevance and growth of accounting firms in a changing environment.
The article applies logic common across all industry “Established companies, complacent in their industry position, fail to anticipate their collapse”. Our generation has seen this happen as national and international brands have succumbed to changes in living habits and technological advances. The quote that “We must accept that our technical aptitude alone won’t be enough,” is a core truth for all financial and audit based service industries. The article however goes beyond addressing what we know. It maps out a future where accountants leverage their knowledge and experience to develop better business relationships with clients which will not only endure change but will prosper from it.
The current scenario that is described is relevant to all, offices which are very busy with compliance work and often too distracted by incipient delivery dates to focus on long term goals. The elephant is this room is the question “what happens as that compliance work becomes automated - what is the relevance and future of a firm whose key service offering has been substituted by an App?”
The solution presented is to engage with the inevitable and use compliance as a gateway to more valued and valuable advisory services. This makes excellent business sense - develop the service offered to your existing clients to keep them loyal and grow from there. Existing clients are the most accessible, easiest to convert and readily available for cross-selling opportunities.
Change is constant - calculators, spreadsheets and accounting packages have all followed each other over time, and the level of impact on how the accountancy business operated grew with each iteration. The nature of the current iteration of IT development however is totally game changing.
IT, correctly adopted provides the solution. IT should be deployed to free up headcount, not replace them. Staff are the key to driving income growth in any service industry. By integrating IT and platform solutions within the work environment time consuming, low return activities can be reduced or removed altogether. The freed-up staff should be re-deployed to focus on delivering value added and enhanced fee earning activities. Yes this means change. Yes adopting new activities can meet resistance. The key to all successful change initiatives is sharing and embedding of the need and the urgency for the action. Promoting change without promoting the need is a recipe for failure, promoting the need without delivering the solution is a recipe for panic.
Change is Constant, Adoption is Key!
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“The nature of the current iteration of IT development however is totally game changing.”– Tim Counihan Tweet
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