Cloud is the business model for the future – and for all sectors of the economy. As we endeavour to better understand the specific interests of our industry, Wolters Kluwer, CCH recently undertook a survey of accounting firms and SMEs. We asked them about their technology investment strategies and business transformation perspectives. We wanted to take a practical look at how the accounting profession is positioned to profitably add value for clients – courtesy of cloud-based enabling technologies.
Our “Can the accounting profession ‘keep up’ with clients and the cloud” report indicates that accountants are substantially on the back foot, being driven to change and cloud-based accounting packages by client demand.
Getting on the front foot
Australian SMEs are displaying a highly positive attitude to cloud computing, whether they are users or not, with 87 percent citing security and functionality being the key drivers for investment in cloud accounting products.
While 69 percent of accounting firms use an online accounting application with their clients, the purchasing decisions were being influenced by SMEs – at a startlingly high 93 percent of the time. As a result, 59 percent of accountants operating via cloud accounting, use 2 or more apps.
The survey identifies just how important it is for professional accountants to not only be fully informed, but to transform their own practices by starting now to use cloud solutions in a strategic move.
Where the potential upside for the profession lies is that 73 percent of SMEs have not yet migrated to any cloud accounting solution. There is vast competitive advantage for those accounting practices who proactively influence the use of digital business tools in the newly evolving role as a trusted adviser – rather than simply an end of year number cruncher.
Cutting Red Tape
The study also revealed the lack of awareness of the Abbott Government’s drive to reduce the impact of compliance on Australia’s GDP. The Cutting Red Tape program has achieved total net deregulatory savings of $2.1 billion since the first repeal day in March this year. And, through significant commitments such as the linked MyTax and MyGov portals, the Government has acknowledged the key role technology is to play in simplifying compliance.
Yet, 50 percent of accountants had no opinion on the impact of red tape despite extensive changes to privacy laws, client communication and ATO processes.
From Wolters Kluwer, CCH’s perspective, the ATO’s digital migration for standard business reporting is driving small business productivity. It’s also reducing some $500 million in professional services from the accountancy sector. This is actually a positive.
It’s creating an environment where accountants can be freed from the passive processing role. By improving efficiency, you can save time on tasks that don’t add value to the business. With SME cloud solution expenditure forecast to increase a staggering 96 percent in the near future, it’s important that they and their accountants align to identify both the business issues and the benefits that can be gained.
Join the journey.
Russell Evans, CEO, Wolters Kluwer Asia Pacific
- Cloud is assumed, it’s now about business transformation - 3 February 2015