By Mark Holton – Smithink 2020
Late in 2013 in an “Unlock the Gold in your Practice” workshop in Toronto, Canada, I was asked to give my impression of accounting practice trends and developments from my work and travel in Canada and the United Kingdom. Some of the key initiatives I have observed are as follows;
- Major efficiencies via paperless offices are emerging. This is very big in the Northern Hemisphere with firms quoting major productivity improvement, cost and time savings.
- Good quality document, practice and workflow management systems that create the time for business advisory service delivery. The key to this one is the attempted removal of the “Silo” effect of too many databases in a practice that do not integrate. The ideal solution is integrated solutions that communicate with each other.
- Scanning systems integrated to practice management and document management software than will scan documents via Optical Character Recognition directly into taxation returns and the like.
- Secure web portals to store client information both historical and business advisory and provide upload and download access to client files. This is strong in the UK and Canadian markets and in my opinion will be a practice essential sooner rather than later.
- Developing knowledge management solutions that “trap” and organise the knowledge of a firm for staff management and future sale enhancement.
- Investigating cloud solutions including on line accounting systems for clients is starting to get good traction in the UK accountants market.
- Developing Business Value Assessments to create a disturbance by delivering pre and post scenarios that integrate into a firm’s business advisory consultations is gaining momentum.
- Using strategic financial diagnostic tools like MYOB ProfitOptimiser (nee CCH Profit Driver in Canada and CCH Strategic Planner in the UK) proactively to deliver consultations on strength and weakness analysis, strategic what-if management, realisable goal seeking and projection of current drivers to see the impact on future performance results.
- Managing lending covenants for clients by performing pre-lending assessments well before the client intends to seek funds from the Banks can create a “win-win” for clients and the Lender and a new source of income for the practice.
- Actively marketing business plans that contain budgets and cash flows that are noted as action plans from business advisory consultations and satisfy lending requirements.
- Delivering micro strategies to help clients collect debts, manage inventory/WIP, understand volume and price movements etc.
- Up-selling business advisory services by offering “How would you like to see the financial impact of every business decision before you make it” services and consultations.
- Working towards social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) as a source of practice information and selling of services.
- Developing web sites that sell the practice and its services not just advise.
© Mark Holton, Smithink 2020 Pty Limited, www.smithink2020.com
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