Research firm East & Partners latest results suggest SME’s do not rate their accountant as their most trusted advisor. They turn to business colleagues, trading partners, friends and family first. The good news is 39.3% said they don’t feel they have any trusted business advisor. What a great opportunity for accountants right now to bridge that gap.
As a forward thinking accountant said recently,
“creating value outside compliance tax/financials, is foreign and new for many accounting firms…. but if they don’t, they’ll be road kill”.
When I meet with older accountants, as we approach the end of each meeting they look to me and say, us oldies are getting left behind, with a smirk.
Is this true?
No, its certainly not! Technology may be fast moving with great automation and efficiency gains, but businesses are still targeting advice in the accounting space, particularly from those that are experienced in business matters.
It’s great to have vehicles that can deliver live data. Cloud based solutions and management dashboards. But if you can’t interpret what that data means and create value to your client, it’s doesn’t mean anything anyway.
If you are a chartered accountant telling your clients to sign up for Xero, to put their receipts in an envelope and ship them off to Receipt Bank, or even just giving them a mountain of 3rd party applications they could possibly sign up to ranging from cashflow management to payroll services, you are really a bookkeeper. Sooner or later the jig is up. The business world will be asking you why you are charging them chartered accountant rates when the person around the corner is giving the same advice for a lot cheaper and no CA around the neck.
So what do you do instead? You still push your clients in the right direction for good bookkeeping, to create automation and cloud based solutions. However, the most important thing is to offer your clients value. Helping grow their business. Grow revenue. It cannot just be compliance anymore. The Virtual CFO is not just a flashy world. Deep in its roots is a calling from the business world. They are looking for a sounding board. For somebody to come along for the ride who has seen it before.