When I was 11, my dad brought a computer home. By the end of the day, I’d pulled it apart and put it back together again. Several years later and with a room full of devices in various states of construction, it was natural for me to head in the direction of an IT degree. But it wasn’t what I thought it would be. The only subject I excelled in during that degree was accounting.
So my first move was to join an accounting firm and study accountancy via distance education at night. But my life took an even stranger turn when I ironically gravitated towards the IT solutions in an accountancy environment. And that’s when the idea started to form that eventually that perhaps the mix was what I was searching for and that one day I could work for a software accounting firm.
My role in the accounting practice that I was working for had been to implement a software accounting suite. It was part of the CCH product set and this provided me with the title ‘product specialist’. So with my in-practice understanding of how the suite worked and my appreciation of the benefits of the software, when an opportunity came up at Wolters Kluwer CCH and I grabbed it. It’s a perspective that has helped me build up a strong understanding of both the technology and strategy side of the business. Coming from the industry has really helped.
I’m a typical Gen Y – I look for challenges constantly and change comes very naturally to me. In fact I welcome it and that really suits the strategic role that I am currently focusing on.
My role is to be a conduit between the accounting world and with all areas of our business – from development to strategy which combines both of the areas that I love to work in. It’s exciting to talk about how new technologies are changing the way accountants work as it’s just not about the doing of the business but the future of the actual business itself. We’re well past the early adopter phase for cloud and Software-as-a-Service – we’ve reached the point where the rest feel safe to jump on-board. And to highlight the impact of cloud, it’s drivers and what is holding people back to deliver this ‘jump on-board’ feeling I am thrilled to be able to release our latest Cloud Accounting survey in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for that.
As I look back at my education, the study of accountancy was really all about compliance. For accountants it’s our comfort area, our safety spot and for some a nice little place to hide. My job today is to explain that, while technology is replacing transactional-based work, it’s contributing insights into increased compliance-based advisory to allow practitioners to be proactive and add value in the compliance area. Accounting practice clients don’t want you to hide any more – they want you to be an integral part of their business. Almost a co-captain of the ship when it comes to making decisions and charting a course.
Seeing this change in how we interact with clients as a positive is largely about perspective and attitude. A client will pay a small amount for you to tell them what’s gone on in the past but 10 times more than that to tell them about the future. Every time and that has to be both fulfilling from a business perspective and job satisfaction angle.
Where we’re heading
Whilst the cloud future has already begun, the concept of Liquid or Big Data that provides deep insights into the client activity – is still only a drop in the ocean compared to where we’re going.
And by this I mean it helps to remind ourselves of the last decade of change. Ten years ago there was no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, iPhone, iPad, iCloud, Siri and one million apps in the Apple Store.
We can’t even imagine what’s going to be technologically possible in just five years time. We hear the hype about wearable technologies but really this is just a stepping stone to when the true digital age is all around us. In the windows, walls and desks that we encounter daily. The trick is to adopt the IDEA of change, to have an open mind as to where it can take you.
There’s a bunch of digital natives just like me coming into the ranks of accounting practices. See it as an opportunity to learn more about technology business benefits as our excitement is contagious. Even if you don’t get it, don’t miss out. Use these new resources and empower them to help grow the firm.
Stay tuned for our 2014 research updates.
Wolters Kluwer, CCH is a global leader in professional information services. Professionals in the areas of legal, business, tax, accounting, finance, audit, risk and compliance healthcare rely on Wolters Kluwer’s market leading information-enabled tools and software solutions to manage their business efficiently, deliver results to their clients, and succeed in an ever more dynamic world.