Do accountants need to evolve in order to survive?

The way businesses are run has changed so much over the last couple decades and this is largely down to advancements in technology.

Better systems mean that employees can now easily and effectively work from home, we can effortlessly conduct business with companies all over the world and we can reach potential, new and existing customers right from the comfort of their own sofa thanks to social media.

Although on the whole these changes have been positive, it has caused hiccups in many industries and a new report has warned that accountancy firms must evolve in order to survive the changes that they face both now and in the future.

This warning came following the release of a report which surveyed practitioners and businesses. It highlighted the key areas which are causing a need for change and include technology, regulation, competition and changing client expectations.

It’s feared that although technology is vital to the industry, it has made basic accounts preparation and bookkeeping easier that ever for businesses. This has the potential to change the role of the accountant as there may not be such a demand for the profession anymore if these tools are so easily available.

It is thought that in order to overcome technology issues, accountants need to evolve in order to ensure that their role helps to create much needed opportunities and challenges that can add value within a business.

One way of achieving this is for accountancy firms to provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ where they offer a host of alternative services as opposed to just doing the accounts. Michaela Talbot, Finance and Operations Director at Baxbourne International confirmed that the report did in fact reveal that this kind of service is exactly what businesses want at the moment.

Accountants have also been urged to think more actively about their social media usage as this has become a hugely effective way for practices to market themselves and their businesses.

Other issues which were highlighted in the report include regulatory issues such as changing audit roles, the continuously evolving pensions landscape, new opportunities being created in legal services and finally, increased competition from consultants, professional services firms, other accountants and of course, the Internet.

Michael Izza, Chief Executive of ICAEW spoke to members and delegates earlier this week at Chartered Accountants Hall and commented:

“There are so many different forces of change that it’s very difficult to say what the profession will look like.”

Do you think the accountancy profession is facing changes and what do you think can be done in order to help the industry keep up with emerging trends? Feel free to share your thoughts with us on our LinkedIn or Twitter pages.

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