The team at Wolters Kluwer and our industry partners recently tackled the future of revenue streams for Australia’s professional accounting firms head on in our latest roadshow series, “Transforming the Future of Tax and Accounting”.
We asked a panel of experts to outline what firms need to innovate to differentiate themselves from the competition and importantly demonstrate value in a highly commoditised environment.
Here’s what they shared in their advice on how to stand out from the crowd.
The accountant is the centre of our universe
Pete Sanders, Managing Director of our Accounting Professionals Division, emphasised the important role accountants play in their client’s businesses. “Accountants remain the number one trusted advisor and this is a strength as we move towards the world of advisory. As we evolve in our own journey Wolters Kluwer has kept pace with the changing business environment. It has delivered a range of incremental offerings that can better support the need to be proactive and predictive. Digital content and workflow solutions are able to help this journey. For us the real focus for us will always be the accountant. Our mantra is ‘when you just have to be right’.
Richard Snell, General Manager of Sales for Wolters Kluwer here in ANZ outlined research findings and highlighted the changes in how practices are working today. “Seventy percent of revenue is still coming from clients, and whilst advisory is important growth is still relatively flat and is even experiencing some fee pressure – only two percent growth in the last twelve months. As an industry we haven’t transitioned to the world of advisory just yet. However we are seeing the impact of cloud technology. With individuals and the ATO embracing the cloud, revenues in tax dropped from 50% to 40% in twelve months for firms we researched. This is a big drop.”
Reinventing the ATO blueprint
The ATO is also undertaking its own fascinating transformation, and Patricia Davis, Practitioner Risk, Strategy and Lodgement Program, ATO advised us to expect more changes. Improving the experience, support and services with the ATO are paramount drivers in this transformation. Consultation and working with industry groups and design teams will build a structure to better partner with the ATO in the future. In 2017 three significant pilot programs – tailored lodgement pilot, client view pilot, and re-engagement of non-lodgers pilot – will be underway.
The firm of the future
Transitioning to a digital infrastructure was highlighted by Daniel Wyner, General Manager of our Group Product Management Team at Wolters Kluwer as a way to maintain our relationship with the ATO, engage with our clients and staff and create a roadmap for the future. Daniel underscored the money opportunities for accountants with a new solution to help accountants to find out what is going on and disseminate that information – digitally, quickly and cost effectively.
Going cloud-based for the future
A highlight during the roadshow was our interview with Tracey Amott, Founder and Partner of Greenview Accounting Group. Grappling with an existing solution and accounting solution vendor relationship that no longer met their needs, Tracey stepped us through the details of moving to CCH iFirm and CCH iQ, the implementation program and cut-over process. It was a much bigger change than they had envisaged and the firm learnt a lot about workflow, time sheets and recurring jobs. “The system works terrifically, the capacity planning works really well because we are into our second year.”
To hear more from our roadshow experts you can register for our webinar here – http://www.webcasts.com.au/cch131016/. It is a great way to see how the shift in efficiencies can benefit your firm, helping you to stand out from the crowd.
Krista Moore | Director, Marketing and Communications, APAC, Wolters Kluwer