The entire financial services industry is going through unprecedented change as the impact of new fintech companies quickly unfolds. While technology is at the core of that change, the fundamental factor of fintech’s success is consumer demand for services that give them better outcomes and experiences.
How can technology help?
The accounting industry faces the same challenges and opportunities as the rest of the financial industry. They’re trying to navigate emerging technologies and work out how it can help them foster stronger relationships with their clients.
Accounting firms need to seek out technology that will improve their ability to work smarter and serve their client’s demand for a better service and relationships.
My own company, Stockspot, is one of the many fintech companies ‘disrupting’ traditional financial services. We’re Australia’s largest and fastest growing digital investment adviser and fund manager (robo-advice). We provide transparent investment advice and professionally managed portfolios without the high fees of a traditional adviser.
Accountants are a first-hand witness to the growth of consumers using robo-advice to invest and avoid the transparency issues of the traditional wealth management industry. The accountants I speak to want their clients to be able to access investing that is lower risk than buying individual shares and more cost effective than managed funds – robo-advice fits the bill. It also means they don’t need to dilute their relationship with their client by sending them off to another advice professional.
We recently launched our partner program which allows accountants to gain access to Stockspot and make our investment platform available to their clients without needing to provide financial advice.
Originally, we planned to be only B2C but the huge demand we received from the accounting community prompted us to create the partner program for accountants.
We manage the full investment process from personalised investment advice, rebalancing through to reporting. Accountants can view their client’s investment portfolio via our investment dashboard at anytime. They can generate taxation reports that show capital gains, dividend statements and franking credits.
Acquiring a wealth management firm is expensive and takes time away from doing what you’re best at. For an accountancy firm, partnering with a robo-adviser is a cost-effective way to ensure clients get the best wealth advice.
Technology for accountants
A great example of a technology company making accountants jobs easier is Class Super, one of the fintech success stories in SMSFs. Its success lies in its focus on solving a problem that thousands of accountants face each year: The hours of wasted time it takes to collate and reconcile the investment data of their SMSF clients. By automating many of the tasks their accountant and adviser would have done manually in the past, Class created a very compelling offer. Accountants are more efficient in their time by automating the manual workloads like transaction matching and clients can pay for less of their accountant’s time.
Demand for technology
We expect accountants to be be one of our largest growth areas in the next 12 – 18 months. Particularly among SMSF accountants, we think we’ll see a lot of interest in our partner program, as their clients seek access to global shares, franked dividends and fixed income investments combined with impartial investment advice. We’re integrated with Class Super and can share access to SMSF clients in Class so they can be managed by the accountant which will make tax reporting time even more efficient.
These new technologies based around data and automation help accountants to activate new revenue streams and transition into the changing industry. Embracing new technology is an opportunity for accountants to offer a wider breadth of services and create these deeper relationships at the same time.
Chris Brycki | CEO and Founder of Stockspot | www.stockspot.com.au
A highly experienced trader, he spent his early career as a portfolio manager at hedge funds and UBS investing the banks’ capital. During this time Chris saw how traditional industries like retail and media were being disrupted by innovative and fast moving technology companies.He decided to do the same to wealth management.
He's a member of ASIC's Digital Advisory Committee and ASIC’s Financial Advisers Consultative Committee. In 2015, he was named in the Top 35 Influencers of Financial Planning by Adviser Ratings. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting/Finance Co-op Scholarship) from the University of NSW.