This is the choice for accountancy firms the world over.
Because if they don’t embrace change, they’ll soon be obsolete.
The Accountancy industry is changing at a rapid pace
It’s no secret within the industry that accountants live in a constantly evolving environment, with new technology and software improving efficiencies across the board.
Additionally, clients’ expectations and needs are shifting – they want advice and guidance from their accountants, because they know the computers can do the number crunching.
Whilst there are a handful of forward-thinking firms out there who are adapting to survive, firms who have their heads in the sand will soon become as outdated as VHS.
The truth of the matter is this: if they don’t evolve their services in the next 3-5 years then they will go out of business. It’s as simple as that.
Time to shift from compliance to advisory
As it stands, many accountancy firms are 85% compliance based, leaving a measly 15% of their time to advisory. Realistically, compliance should be less than 50% of an accountancy firm’s business if it is to survive.
This means more than just readjusting the balance; it means reeducating accountants to think of themselves as trusted advisors rather than number crunchers – as business consultants rather than calculators.
In short, accountants need to interpret data so that they become business mentors to their clients, giving good financial advice, suggesting tactical business decisions and ultimately being an advisory arm to their clients’ success.
Accountants are human
The advantage accountants have is that they are human. Being a director of a business can be a lonely place, and no amount of software can replace the value of having a trusted advisor at the end of the phone. At the end of the day, people still buy people.
And by uprooting their old fashioned, number crunching foundations and sewing a more nimble, flexible and advisory-led culture, accountancy firms will ride the wave of evolution rather than be left at sea.
Inspire is now an advisory-led firm
As an advisory-led firm, the team and myself at Inspire are continuously assessing and improving our strategic advice services. This has become the be all and end all of our business and, because of this, we’re not just surviving, but thriving.
Similarly, accountancy firms need to rethink their offering and train their people to be trusted advisors who have the right communication skills to support and coach their clients. And if they partner and work with the right tech providers, whilst also building meaningful relationships with their clients, they’ll prosper.
So, my advice is this: embrace change and evolve with it by shifting your focus onto advisory whilst also delivering cost-effective, cloud-based compliance services.
Throw everything you have at becoming an indispensible trusted advisor that can help get your clients to where they want to be. Be mentors, guides, consultants… be the source of knowledge and growth and therefore integral to your clients’ success.
This shift in what clients want and expect from their accountants is the inspiration behind the launch of the exclusive membership community for entrepreneurs and business leaders, Evolve.
An eco-system of shared learning and growth, Evolve invites accountancy firms to co-brand and deliver their own peer group learning programmes – and, in doing so, diversify their services and reposition themselves as indispensible business advisory firms.
Looking at the rapid decline of traditional accountancy services and how quickly the needs of entrepreneurs and businesses are changing, this focus on advisory really is the only way to survive. Evolve… or die. It’s as simple as that.