The future for accountants

Most Australians have a long-term relationship with their accountant and view them as a key business adviser – perhaps their only business adviser.

This places accountants in a very unique position and is reflected in the fact accountants are considered the most trusted adviser among financial services practitioners and have the highest satisfaction rating in the financial sector.

As a result of these long-term trusting relationships, Australians almost always seek advice from their accountant when they begin actively considering their superannuation options.

Now, by becoming licensed, there is an opportunity for accountants to capitalise on this trust, as well as offer a value-proposition to their existing and future clients in providing a full scope of strategic advice.

For the accounting industry, the opportunity to move into an advice based business model is coinciding with new economic trends.

Practice owners we visit around Australia tell us technology is now more important than ever, with many embracing cloud based accounting. At the same time, the strong position of the Australian dollar in recent years has meant that Australians have amassed significant disposal income. In fact, the net-adjusted disposal income per Australian household is $AUD 30,346.71, which is the fifth highest among 36 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations. (source OECD Better Life Index, Released 28 May 2013, www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org)

This means two things for accountants. The first is that technology has made it possible to restructure low-yield compliance work and create more opportunities to concentrate on high-yield advice. The second is that Australians have accumulated more wealth faster than in previous generations and have a developed consciousness of how to manage their investments.

Accountants tell us that clients are now coming to them with a growing list of questions about all types of asset classes, and expecting these questions to be answered. If you are not in a position to answer them, there is a risk that the client will go elsewhere and the potential loss to the business by not offering clients the advice service they need is immeasurable.

We offer accountants this equation:

 Responding to client needs = > client satisfaction = unlimited client loyalty = immeasurable value.

The question that has the most relevance to your business right now will not come from a client. It has to be asked by you, and it’s not the most common question of whether to attain a licence or not. It is – ‘How do I reform my accounting business now, so it remains relevant in the future?’