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Danyca Wallis | September 2022
It is no secret that technology is slowly evolving to be able to do what accountants can, although that does not count for everything, there is substantial technological growth happening. So as accountants who work for an array of businesses, you need to find something more to give that would be seen as more valuable to you and your clients than that which technology can provide. Perhaps new objectives that do not only include regulating finances, or rethinking the skill sets you can bring to the table?
There is a lot of change ahead and to get in front of it, accountants should consider the changes that can be made in the workplace. Focus on different staff skills, how you can diversify your firm, rethinking your clients’ expectations, and building further knowledge through extensive and diverse training. The revolution of these changes will influence the following generations of accounting firms.
So, how can you go further than just balancing the books?
Diversify the staff you hire.
The Practice of Now 2020 showed that “82% of firms say they are open to recruiting from a non-accounting background, such as project management or client services.” This means that firms are focussing on what their client needs more than just being able to work with the numbers. Having a team of professionals who can holistically look at your clients, cannot just improve the client experience but can also open up extra income avenues previously unexplored. Avenues like insurance or maybe fiduciary services which are not usually tended to by accountants. Other fields we can think of you might appoint personnel for, are marketing, software training, and general business advice to name a few.
Because clients want more from their accountants, you need to think differently about what you can provide to them. As an accountant, it is your duty to know and understand the numbers, and your clients should also be able to understand that too, but only if you explain this to them. Accountants should consider themselves as advisors and planners who then use the knowledge, they have to secure their and their client's futures. Think of yourself as a wealth creator instead of an accountant.
Know what your clients want.
Understand what it is your clients need. Not all of them will need the same services or advice, but they are most likely all want to know more about how to make sure their next plans fall into place and what shortfalls could come with it. Work with your clients to plan correctly and include the benefits, opportunities, and potential consequences. They should understand how the numbers work together with growing their businesses.
Embrace the technological evolution.
We all understand technology is developing rapidly, and this can be used to your and your client’s advantage. Your clients need to adapt to modern technology available to them that will make doing business faster, more efficient, and most likely save them money. This will also make your job easier when their systems can integrate with yours, allowing you to better the value of the services you provide. By using cloud-based systems, automating functions, and having the tools available to you and your clients, you are streamlining a process that allows you and your clients to track the information you need to be able to give them additional business advice.
Businesses are changing constantly, and accountants need to stay on top of these changes to ensure they can meet their client's needs. If your firm is stuck or if it is not getting the same outcome as it used to, it may be a good time to consider making some of these internal adjustments for the benefit of your and your client's futures.