Hear Reckon, Saasu and the Institute of Public Accountants discuss future business models for accounting firms on Wednesday 2 April at the Future of Accounting Forum in Sydney and streamed live online.
Limited tickets – Register now.
Accounting firms that relied on high volumes of tax compliance work could struggle in the face of digitised tax forms and changing expectations of SMEs, said Reckon’s strategic director, Daniel Rabie in a video interview with BoxFreeIT.
The margins in producing tax returns were likely to come under pressure and force accountants to look at advisory services as mandatory, Rabie said.
“The digitisation of tax returns will make data entry more efficient so the amount you can charge will decrease. And that’s a great thing for the industry,” Rabie said. “People don’t study accountancy for several years to do data entry.”
Accounting firms needed to look at modifying their business models while making their compliance arms more efficient. Tax would remain a starting point for the relationship, Rabie said.
“Compliance is still core to an accounting firm. It’s still an excellent way to get small businesses through the door. But those accounting firms who don’t take that relationship and turn it into an advisory relationship are the ones that are going to struggle.”
An explosion in micro-businesses, fuelled by e-commerce, had created a big market for business advice. First-time business owners were looking to their accountant for expertise in running their business, and tax was secondary. Accountants needed to position themselves to meet these revised expectations, Rabie said.
“Clients used to expect compliance. I went to my accountant to do the tax stuff I didn’t understand. Now in this more competitive world, small businesses go to their accountant to get advice,” Rabie said. “The right acct is the one who can give that microbusiness the advice to grow.”
Accountants needed to become much more aware of changes in business technology among their clients as well as in their own practices. Mobile technology in particular would revolutionise businesses by giving them the ability to update and view data from any location.
“I think mobile will change the game. Those firms that take on the digital revolution and bring it into their business processes will find growth an easier thing to come by,” Rabie said. “Those that don’t understand this revolution may be left behind.”
Need help planning a post-compliance future for your firm? Come to the Future of Accounting Forum on the top floor of the AMP Tower at Circular Quay, Sydney, from 9-11am on Wednesday 2 April.
Breakfast included and the event is worth two hours of CPE. To buy tickets to attend the event, or to watch the live stream or video on demand, Register Now.