Advancements in understanding how technology can transform roles and processes in the cloud and improve client relationships are clear for more accounting firms than ever before. This new level of awareness – cloud accounting means a new way of doing things, enabling new products and services to build human capital for the firm, its staff and its clients – permeates accounting firms of all shapes and sizes. No matter where they are on their business journey.
Building this cloud-based dynamic accounting practice understandably has never been more interesting, or challenging, for today’s accounting professionals.
Much is expected of them. Accounting professionals now need to navigate more information and regulatory complexity than ever before meaning firms are operating under pressure to improve productivity levels and client outcomes.
The awareness that this landscape is changing is reflected in this year’s Wolters Kluwer ANZ Tax and Accounting Landscape 2018 (WK Landscape 2018) research.
Top 3 Concerns Accounting Firms Face Today
- Difficulty finding new clients
- Changes in regulation and the bottom line impact
- Less need for compliance services
New client acquisition remains our top ranked concern. However just outside our top three is the acknowledgement clients have higher expectations for customer service from clients. As SMEs integrate higher levels of automation and workflow processes into different areas of their business, they develop a deeper understanding of what is achievable. It’s logical they will turn to the accounting profession for advice on where to next.
How the Intelligent Practice creates new offerings
It’s not just larger accounting firms transforming business efficiencies through workflow and automation. WK Landscape 2018 research reveals professional firms across the board are realising the benefits of cloud accounting software and collaboration.
Last year we forecast the transformation of the typical practice, an increased focus on automation and higher levels of self-service will become the norm for firms throughout the country. Our research to date highlighted the increasing need for accounting professionals to be more involved in correctly setting up clients in the cloud to deliver wider business process efficiencies.
The impact of the cloud on the Intelligent Practice is now gaining momentum with a 6% YOY increase in the number of firms delivering more personal tax offerings, as well as a 4% YOY growth in profit and loss planning. In fact, those firms offering wealth management and industry benchmarking services expect a greater impact of cloud over time.
Impact of Cloud Solutions
- 53% Firms now offer more personal tax offerings
- 32% Firms offer more profit and loss planning
Extending the role of Trusted Advisor
For many years we have been tracking the reputation of the accounting professional and research results remain focused on the unique position of trust we hold with our clients. WK Landscape 2018 findings suggest the nature of our relationship is at an all-time high. Significantly 82% of SMEs surveyed viewed their accountant as a trusted business adviser – up in the rankings by 11% from our 2017 findings.
Nature of the relationship between accountants and their clients
- “60% of firms believe clients view them as advisors on CFO-level issues”
- “62% of firms believe they influence their clients’ software purchasing decisions”
The Wolters Kluwer 2018 Evolution of the Intelligent Practice eBook is a handy guide for accounting firms considering the cloud for the first time, as well as those curious to know what other firms are offering in the cloud. This year’s eBook will take a look at more of our recent research in-depth, plus more around the service trends and value behind collaborative accounting. Register here for your free copy.
Steve Quan | Sales Director (Australia)
Accounting Segment, Wolters Kluwer
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