Last month we launched our national roadshows to tackle the future of revenue streams for Australia’s professional accounting firms head on. We spoke to Pete Sanders, Managing Director, Accounting Professionals Division, Wolters Kluwer about what is driving this innovation and why professional accountants would benefit from the roadshow. Here’s what he had to say…..
What is driving innovation for today’s professional accounting firms?
First and foremost it is the adoption of technology and specifically the pace of change around technology. Whether that be the small business cloud technology the firms clients are adopting or online tools that practices are adopting as part of normal business process.
Beyond this, I don’t think it would come as a surprise to know clients are expecting more from their accountants today. This means moving away from traditional compliance services, and developing a methodology to better understand your client’s businesses. Firms will need to innovate their business model and make the most of the tools that are now available to transform from what can be a traditional environment, into one that can meet the client needs of the future.
Interestingly it’s not just offering new service lines; it really is about how you structure your practice. Wolters Kluwer is currently seeing innovation here with practices starting to change the physical layout of offices and leveraging technology to deliver the scale needed to automate as much as you can, as quickly as you can and most importantly as cost-effectively as you can.
Who is leading this wave of change?
There are a few typical stereotypes of accountants out there in the marketplace – I know because I am one! But the professional accountants that are leading this wave of change towards the new look accounting practice are not limited to an age group or even a geographic location. We are seeing true practice leaders, individuals that will lead the charge to the next generation of accounting firms, coming from both city and regional locations. And it’s not restricted to age brackets as in this instance forward thinkers are coming from anywhere in the age spectrum.
What is also interesting is that anyone with the right attitude, tools and technology can establish an accounting practice today – which might scream opportunity for the next generation, and concern for those traditional practices. You don’t even need an office, with the cloud you can work from anywhere and this technology is readily available to everyone.
What determines leadership in innovation?
It would be fair to say that the leaders in this space look and act differently to what we might have called the traditional accounting practice.
We are now seeing accounting practices behave much less like traditional accounting outfits and more and more like technology firms.
We know of many firms that are changing the status quo – for the better. Technology is now in place to automate the mundane and allowing the partners to have all staff actively involved in the business and with the client base. We know of firms running active annual rewards and incentive programs for all staff, an annual rewards trip for the entire practice to build and strengthen the team approach, daily stand up meetings where staff share the running and operation of meetings and – many accountants may not believe this – implementing a strict leave at 5.30pm policy. No more draining 60 hour weeks. Some of the world’s greatest tech innovations come from teams that are rewarded for innovation.
What will I learn from the Transforming the Future of Tax and Accounting roadshow?
There are three main benefits for attending the roadshow. Our experts will share the available opportunities for firms to re-define their business model, their offerings and the upside for their future plus we will share the solutions we have to help you get there. We will also provide exclusive insights from the ATO about its own massive transformation process and how this will impact accounting firms and their clients – all in plain English. And we are excited to confirm our dynamic client advocate, Greenview Accounting Group, will step us through how they are transforming into a smarter practice.
Finally we want attendees to understand the benefits of engaging with a global, leading provider of tax, accounting and audit information, solutions, and services. Our strategy is focused on helping you to be more effective and efficient. Our portfolio offers software tools coupled with content and services that customers need to make decisions with confidence. We believe there is nothing else like it in the marketplace.