The ever changing demand on the delivery of relevant accounting services
Leadership within the accounting profession are continually being told that they have to change to remain relevant, and that the days of those firms that focus on providing traditional services are over.
The reality is that there is a lot of misunderstanding about this transition of offering which most commentators and consultants see as a small step for mankind, but for the majority of the firms the experience is more of a giant leap for the profession.
The accounting profession has seen much change in 2020, the majority of which was enforced rather than strategic, but the general opinion is that as a profession it has done better than most.
As 2020 comes to end, firms are reviewing what they will look like in 2021 and beyond on many levels, not least how they will work (i.e. in the office, at home or a hybrid model) but also how they can best support their clients.
‘Now is the time to be innovative and creative in the way accounting firms look to deliver true value’
Now is the time to be innovative and creative in the way accounting firms look to deliver true value to both their teams and clients alike, as both are questioning the true value and relationship they receive.
My fear for the profession is that it is going to lurch from what is a fairly bland and undifferentiated position of the provider of compliance services to a maybe less bland but similarly undifferentiated world of provider of advisory services.
From the results of two recent independent surveys on potential advisory offerings and needs, it is interesting to see that there does not seem to be total alignment in terms of what the profession believes are the top priorities of the market and what the pains and/or needs of market (i.e. what CFO’s who are reaching out to the profession for support) actually are.
For many, these are challenging times but there are real opportunities out there for those that have a true close relationship with their clients and are really listening to, understanding and then delivering relevant support offerings.
Leadership within the accounting profession need to take ownership of #yourjourneyahead, and the primary focus needs to be a shift from being seen as historians and the keeper/purveyor of past data and transitioning to being seen as futurists.
This transition does not mean throwing away what has got them to where they are today, rather the need to be open to listen and learn from others on what their relevance might be tomorrow.
‘leadership within accounting firms need to stop thinking like accountants when building their firm’s strategy’
When planning #yourjourneyahead, leadership within accounting firms need to stop thinking like accountants when building their firm’s strategy to be more market relevant. When you consider how other sectors build strategy, they reach out to their accountants and other external advisors to gain insight, support and guidance – so why do the majority of accounting firms not follow this example?
As already mentioned, 2021 and beyond offer real opportunities for those with the right mindset. Accounting firm leaders need to take ownership and reach out to others (outside of your firm) to help understand and live their story of #yourjourneyahead in delivering greater client relevance and value.