By the time you agree it’s time to change, it’s already too late. The time to change is before it seems necessary. Before the storm hits. Before the rest of the world has already caught on.
It’s no secret that the accounting industry is in the midst of an unsettling revolution. Familiarity and security is in the past; the future doesn’t hold this. And yet the uncertainty that inevitably accompanies change is not unique to our current circumstances; the world has been in improvement mode since the dawn of man, and the digital revolution is a revolution like any other.
A revolution is defined as the overthrowing of a social order in favour of a new system. A new system. A new way of working, communicating, living. It’s a revolution that requires the accounting profession to adapt quickly – it’s a new game with a new set of rules.
Move costs down, cut time out – this, indeed, is nothing new – we’ve always been pushing for more efficient and cost-effective ways of working. Now though, it’s a little more of a dilemma. Though the global marketplace has provided unlimited opportunities to the business world and its inhabitants, so too has it posed a new breed of threats to these same people. The same changes that allow a global client base and an international workforce also open the gates for global competition – to the extent that you may no longer be able to afford to offer the same kinds of services (particularly of the compliance kind) that you have offered to date.
And globalisation is not the only game-changer. The access to information that your clients have in this age of unparalleled content availability could make or break your firm. As the accountant-client relationship balances out, clients are more and more likely to do their own accounting and financial research and come to you armed with Internet-sourced knowledge. The challenge will become one of how to use and expand their new knowledge to service them in ways that you and they may not have previously considered.
Faster and cheaper aren’t the only options. They might be the way you choose to go, but there’s also better. (It will be a major achievement to combine the three.) If at a macro-level we feel the responsibility of moving the world forward, then better would appear to be the way to go.
The question now is how will firms do this? How do we be better in a future not even ‘experts’ can predict? We will need to be a lot more open to learning and adapting experiences from other industries to achieve longevity and sustainable business models.
Now in our fourteenth year of operations, Business Fitness is clearly seeing the demands of change beginning to impact on our clients’ mindsets and approach to their future business needs. With the privilege of being able to closely monitor trends and changes in the industry, we are well positioned to guide our clients as they navigate their many challenges in addressing their firm of the future objectives. We are excited to be working through the new age with our clients – as we believe you should be in working with yours.
The opportunities are limitless.
This article is an extract from the 2014 Good Bad Ugly accountants’ benchmarking report. Buy your copy here or download the free Executive Summary here.