Are You a Next Generation Accountant?

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Technological change has had an overwhelming impact on the accounting industry. This change has created a new generation of accountants which have shifted beyond offering basic bookkeeping and tax compliance services, towards contributing sound business advice and cloud based technology solutions. As new technology has become available next generation accountants have invested their time and resources into implementing technology solutions both internally and externally to assist them in improving their service offering.  If you aren’t taking the necessary steps to become a next generation accountant then you’re missing out on opportunities to help your clients.

Technology

The current technology landscape is vast and growing.  As the demand for cloud business software increases, so does the availability of new technology. Although MYOB still has a large market share for traditional desktop accounting software in Australia, Xero has taken over MYOB as the global market leader. Xero is a solution that assists with sales, purchases, payroll, cash flow management and much more. Xero’s add-on marketplace has created a lot of opportunities for next generation accountants to provide complete solutions for their customers.

Client Benefits

There are various benefits that next generation accountants can provide to their clients. By using technology, accountants can help their clients to better understand their businesses and improve their accounting reporting. Next generation accountants understand that data analytics are primary in understanding and improving growing businesses. In the near-future we expect to see an increase in real-time accounting and data analytics as cloud-based services surge. With competition from cloud providers increasing, we foresee improvements in the efficiency and convenience of these services.

Next generation accountants should specialize in working with clients to develop systems and procedures across financial systems, general business systems and key performance indicators. A client’s business profitability and efficiency can be significantly impacted by having the right systems and procedures in place. In addition to this, customer and staff satisfaction can also be enhanced by having good software that improves the day-to-day performance of the business. When considering a long term view for your client’s businesses, having the right systems and procedures is important when your client decides to sell their business. Buyers will look favorably at businesses with operations that rely heavily on systems and procedures rather than the owner’s knowledge of the business. As a result, well-managed businesses are obviously worth a lot more money when it comes time to sell the business.

Opportunities

Next generation accountants are investing heavily in technology to create additional revenue streams for their businesses. In the next 5 years it is expected that accountants will increase technology expenditure which will boost firm growth and competitiveness. This will also create an opportunity for accountants to focus on advisory services. Accounting firms that provide clients with advisory services are predicted to experience an increase in revenue growth.

There is a growing demand from business owners who want data analysis technology to help them to understand their own business and industry. This will lead to an increase in cross-selling a range services such as assurance services for clients so that they can make better business decisions.

The major opportunities for accountants lie in traditional industries that are labor-intensive such as wholesaling and retailing as they are unable to outsource key functions like logistics and administration. They rely heavily on efficiencies derived from technology and staff training to increase revenue growth. New opportunities for accountants are created when attracting new clients or upgrading existing ones.

Challenges

Even though technology will present a lot of opportunities for accountants over the next 5 years there will be several challenges. With more and more businesses willing to carry out their own bookkeeping there is a growing demand for accountants to contribute a better quality range of services. This shift away from bookkeeping has mainly been driven by cloud service providers delivering superior products at better price points than traditional solutions. This shift has also increased clients expectation of services from accounting firms. Businesses want targeted advice on taxation, budgets, cash flow, wealth creation, bench marketing, business structuring advice, succession planning, management consulting and risk management.

Cloud systems allow accountants to outsource low level accounting work which means they can focus on expanding their advisory services. Advisory services requires a high skill set and hiring staff may become more difficult. Accounting firms will expect candidates to have experience, qualifications and software knowledge. Ideally candidates will be able to recommend, setup, modify and train clients on cloud accounting software systems to fit clients businesses.

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Michael Mekhitarian is a co-founder and managing director of ATB Partners. He is a CPA, president of the Parramatta Chamber of Commerce and a next generation accountant. Michael specialises in providing advice and technology solutions to clients in retail, wholesale, manufacturing, professional services, franchise and construction.

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Melanie - Unleashed Software
Melanie

Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.

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