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Are you ready for the New Accounting Industry?

Posted by Richard Francis on 19 Mar 2015

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The accounting industry is undergoing the biggest transformation since the use of computers became standard a generation ago.

The transformation is being driven by four key factors:

  1. 1. The widespread adoption of ‘cloud’ technology
  2. 2. The emergence of a new generation of entrepreneur-accountants
  3. 3. The commoditisation or ‘crunch’ on compliance fee streams; and
  4. 4. Consumer demand for real value from their professional service-providers.

The intersection of those four influences is tremendously exciting. Change - and opportunity - is in the air.

And change in our industry - eye-watering, substantive change - is well overdue. The ‘old ways’ in our industry are too often backward-looking, smug and complacent.

The industry surveys tell us that the average owner of an accounting firm is 50+ and likely to be more Barry Manilow than Barry White. Perhaps this explains why the typical accounting firm will most likely still have a disproportionate focus - perhaps 80-90% of fee revenue - on compliance work such as filing tax returns, preparing financial statements and making sense of teetering towers of paper.


Richard Francis explains the industry transformation to top advisory firms

As a consequence, the vanilla offerings of most firms and the absence of an aspiration to do more and be more has created a ‘usefulness gap’. This is the gap between what we could and should usefully provide and what we actually do.

The usefulness gap leaves most customers - the small and medium-sized enterprises of our nations - with limited practical support, insight or advice. This gap is an indictment on our industry and a wasted opportunity for accountants and their clients of elephantine proportions.

That’s just not good enough. Especially now, as the industry transformation taking place offers fantastic, affordable and scalable opportunities for new entrants to the industry and for those prepared to reinvent themselves. There’s no better time to start a cloud, value-add practice - or to seed change from within.

Periods of change always create winners and losers. I believe the winners will be those that aspire to do more and be more. They will embrace scalable technology (like QuickBooks Online, Xero and our own popular SuperVCFO bundle), serve customers by adding value, hire for entrepreneurial spirit and empathy, and look way beyond the low hanging compliance fruit. Slow and steady decline awaits those unwilling or unable to adapt.

The new accounting industry requires us all to show imagination, guts, focus and future-thinking. The opportunity to do work of true value and purpose is well and truly here.

Are you ready?

Richard Francis, CA, CEO

Richard has spent 20 years providing Virtual CFO services and was a cloud practice pioneer prior to founding Spotlight Reporting. To find out more about becoming a SuperVCFO, click here

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