FREE WHITEPAPER SERIES
What Accountants Could Do Next
An Interview Series with leading UK accountancy practices on how they are adding value and strengthening client relationships
Can IT Help Your Practice Add Value?
If technology has resulted in arm’s length commodification of services, has it also provided the accountancy profession an opportunity to develop a closer relationship with the client?
A book commissioned by iplicit looks at how IT has a role in enabling a practice to add value, whether in fact technology can assist the migration to providing a more advisory role and service to the client.
Does a practice now need to be able to harness IT in the interests not just of the firm and its practitioners but the client as well, as software becomes more complex and inextricably linked?
What are the catalysts which prompt a mid-tier company (or indeed an accountancy practice) to introduce new accounting software?
What are the issues which affect the decision-making process and timing - risk, 'nobody got fired for buying IBM' syndrome, worry about disruption when organisations are pushed in terms of resource, inherent reluctance to change - and how might they be addressed?
Leading up to publication, the latest thought-provoking interview to be included in the report will be available here for you to download.
Chairman at Farnell Clarke Accountants
“The irony is that twenty-five years ago accountancy firms were relationship driven. Then compliance accounting became prevalent, covering all the acronyms such as GDPR, and that became the profession’s focus. Then digital, because of the cloud, provided an alternative to human engagement. Now I think we’re turning full circle to there being human firms again, but now the relationships are better informed because instead of them being based on a bundle of documents once a year, we’re deploying technology which delivers real-time data.”
Partner & Head of Outsourcing at Haysmacintyre
"It’s about the adviser looking at the data for the client and spotting any abnormalities, highlighting opportunities which boost their business. By taking a step back and reviewing the figures rather than simply dispatching them to a client, that’s where a firm’s outsourcing team can add real value."
Partner & Head of Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence at Moore Kingston Smith
"Rather than talk about commodification we should consider whether there are tasks which can be automated so an accountant firm can be more focused on partnering with the client on their journey, rather than continuing to spend time on low
value manual tasks."
Audit Chief Technology Officer at KPMG UK
“I would argue that the complexity of capabilities we are able to deploy is a differentiator - artificial intelligence, robotics, data automation - which means that the future skillset at an accountancy firm is going to be part auditor and part data scientist."
Partner at Larking Gowen
“As soon as technology is applied to produce meaningful data at the right time it unlocks opportunity for a conversation with the client. But one fundamental which can get missed is the need for client to be effectively digitised! Having the software doesn’t mean they’re going to produce great data. Technology is only an enabler."
Director of Outsourcing at Mercer & Hole
“I would say the role of the accountant which has to be communicated is about how we can help clients deliver the dream, and to do that means the profession needs to find ways of having a more continuous dialogue with the client, helping them to set and adjust their goals, to talk through issues such as e-commerce or to pro-actively suggest funding opportunities."
Partner & Head of Property at BKL LLP
“Having live data means that an accountancy firm has to change the purpose of what it wants its people to do, which should be to interpret and understand data, to provide insight for the client. This couldn’t be more removed from the traditional end of year focus. Now it’s about providing advice from live data so that clients can make meaningful real-time decisions. "
Senior Business Innovation Manager at Milsted Langdon
“The value is that technology enables us to provide advisory support when before, that data wasn’t to hand to interpret, and we wouldn’t have been able to address a problem other than historically, after something had happened. Technology means the focus can be on looking forward rather than fighting unexpected fires."
Partner and South East Regional Market Leader at PwC
“We need to look at this differently if we are to solve complex challenges in a sustainable way which is human led, technology powered - in other words, bringing a combination of human ingenuity, and the passion and the experience that comes with that, alongside the power of technology"
Head of Technology at MHA MacIntyre Hudson
“What I would say is that the holy grail of providing real time advice is totally dependent on the quality of the information put into the system. If what happens is the application of that old saying about data entry - rubbish in, rubbish out - it won’t enable an advisor to suggest anything meaningful, whether in real time or not"
Partner - Head of Digital Accounting Solutions at Azets
“An example of adding value? Creating data lakes would enable an accounting firm to use IT in a more insightful way to provide new advisory service offerings, such as being able to identify how a client in a particular sector is performing compared to its competitors."
Group Managing Director at The Affinity Group
“The danger for firms which don’t change is that there will be a disconnect between them and clients who increasingly will become more aware of what technology can do for them. “That means an accountant has to be able to keep an eye on what technology is doing. With consumer style advertising for QuickBooks and Xero attracting more interest from SMEs, the onus is going to be on the accountant to demonstrate not only that they work with the software but they are still a vital piece of the jigsaw."