What is the accounting world thinking?
The UK accountancy profession is facing a period of profound change with industry-specific threats and external challenges. GovGrant, in partnership with Accountancy Age, has dip tested opinion among over 150 accounting professionals, to hear directly from them on their hopes and challenges.
Tomorrow’s accountancy firm – time to change or be forgotten
We’ve called on some of the best writers around to help make sense of it all. We reflect on the findings of our survey, consider the impact of the Digital Firm and explore some alternative revenue opportunities offered through innovation, R&D and Intellectual Property incentives.
You can read the whole thought leadership report online and view and download as a printable pdf.
The GovGrant accountant survey, promoted in association with Accountancy Age, took the temperature of the accounting profession in Autumn 2018. 155 responses from a cross section of accounting practices, corporate accountants, sole traders and others included consultants, government, academics and students, people with an interest in the industry.
Optimism v. pessimism
Optimism leads over pessimism amongst accountants.
Growth over next year
For an industry beset by challenges, this paints a very rosy picture of prospects in the profession.
Key challenges (with the short term exception of Brexit) are all technology-related. Either being replaced by tech, or tech making for commoditisation/ falling prices and a race to the bottom.
Will accountants be with us in 2030?
Realistic about change but most see the business model evolving, with nearly 25% believing accountancy will be virtual.
Tax credit services for innovation and R&D
Over 50% aren’t taking advantage of the opportunity through ignorance, lack of skills and/or inertia.
Optimists v. cynics
Paradoxical view – as many optimists (strategic partner) as cynics (necessary cost).
Opportunities for accountants to redefine their service
Providing value added services will allow accountants to continue to thrive and remain relevant to their clients. Accountants should have more confidence in the role they play in their clients’ business lives and accept the fact that if they want to be treated as trusted business advisers, they need to start moving a bit further out from their comfort zone.
There are opportunities out there right now for accountants to start redefining the services they provide and the interactions they have with their customers. Offering a service to support innovation and R&D tax credits will show clients that there is more to their accountant than they might have expected. It’s an added value service that can directly impact a client’s bottom line and could start to redefine the whole working relationship.
Comments from the report
There are opportunities out there right now for accountants to start redefining the services they provide and the interactions they have with their customers.
It’s really important accountants give their clients the best service, and with the best will in the world if you’re a two-partner firm, even a five-partner firm, you’ll never be able to have the depth of experience with R&D that we will.
According to these survey results, accountants see and understand the opportunities presented by tech but there appears to be a residual impression that it is a fundamental threat to their current business model
Core product delivery from traditional firms is being squeezed, so unless you change the value proposition there is no way out.
That is the threat.
With digital technologies transforming economies in short timeframes, accountants and their clients must move quickly to stay competitive.