The new role of the accounting firm
With the emergence of new technologies, business owners increasingly expect their accountants to advise and safeguard the company’s digital operations and services. Particularly, small to mid-size businesses which can’t afford dedicated IT professionals, heavily rely on new and innovative services either from accounting firms or from technology providers. This is a major opportunity for accounting firms to expand and grow. Either build internally or partner for growth in several of the key dimensions.
Leverage cloud and SaaS platforms
More and more cloud software is being used by each company, and the SME segment is evolving as a prime candidate for managed cloud services. The collaboration software will sooner or later force both accounting firms and their clients to use the same platforms. Since accounting firms work with many clients, they will naturally develop significant skills in the use of such collaborative and professional solutions. Yet, this is the prime opportunity to establish NEW offerings, along with the following areas:
Advisory, Oversight and Support
Clients are very interested to hear what technology to use and how from their accountants. It not only helps to ensure financial objectives and transparency but also…..
Process efficiency and controls
with insights into efficiency, cash flow, and transaction details accountants are quick to pinpoint the issues and needed improvements.
Combine that with knowledge of the potential use of digital platforms, robotic process automation, and ML-driven decision-making. 80% of accounting roles as we know them today, will either have to transform or will be gone.
User administration and business continuity
as businesses subscribe to cloud solutions, they need a trusted and ideally independent administrator of the account. Ideally, someone will be there even when there is a need to restructure, merge or transform the businesses. Even in good times people change their jobs and leave the firm, however, accountant should be for the long term.
Outsourcing and Digital PMO
Companies have been outsourcing parts of their financial HR, and IT for some time now however with the creation of new service models, it appears that each company is trying to focus on the true core of its competitive advantage while outsourcing everything they can. This presents tremendous opportunities for accounting, technology, and business services firms to offer unique and innovative services. Often running a PMO, or a project control tower, for major projects to keep an eye on money being spent and progress made is highly desired.
M&A, Joint Ventures, Restructurings
Similar to running a project management office, the M&A transactions and restructurings are often managed as a major project or program. Running such a program often requires discipline, focus, and constant collaboration of all the parts involved. An opportunity for accounting firms to step up and play a vital role to use digital technologies, and simply turn a Digital PMO into a high-value offering.
it is important to build or partner for capabilities in the digital space. The new role could be defined as someone who protects financial and all business-critical data and ensure business continuity from a fiduciary perspective. Of course, the accountant is not supposed to secure sales or procurement, however, he or she is expected to ensure the company has the entire set of agreements, and transactional documentation stored for its company records.
Startups, Accelerators, Incubators
New business models and companies are being born using these new and alternative methods. As the business is being invented the focus starts changing on establishing basic financial measures, and methods to protect the short and long-term interests of all involved. Accounting firms are able and well-positioned to augment the management and variety of key roles. From simple cash-flow and investment to oversight, to setting up the right structures to protect intellectual property and assets. As the company grows so does the need for accounting and professional service firms.
And then there is blockchain, machine learning, big data, and other topics.
To be continued…