Accountancy firms are poised for a major transformation in their profession, with the vast majority – 96 per cent – of accountants expecting technology to change their role within the next 10 years, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters. The survey also showed that the profession expects its business model to change too, with cloud computing and real-time data expected to have the biggest impact on the sector.
Some of the main findings were:
- 59 per cent see tax in real-time will bring positive change to the profession;
- most said that a diversification of services will be vital by 2028;
- 96 per cent think that new skills and capabilities will be needed for their role;
- most expect that technology will automate key accountancy tasks such as bookkeeping, data collection and tax returns over the coming decade.
The respondents expect to spend significantly more time on advisory services, such as reviewing clients’ internal systems and procedures, recommending IT systems, tax planning and consultancy, and business development plans.
Charlotte Rushton, of Thomson Reuters, said: “The tax and accounting profession is facing multiple sources of meaningful change, including new legislation and a wave of new technology that will impact both their own and their clients’ businesses. These trends raise many new questions, such as which areas of practice may require less effort and, in turn, where practitioners can create new growth opportunities.”
Rushton continued: “Accounting and tax professionals who increase their focus on adopting and becoming proficient with next-generation technologies, while incorporating higher-value advisory services into their mix, will position themselves for a stronger future.”
What the accountants say
Stephen Pell, founder of music accountancy firm Pell Artists, says: “The role of the accountant is certainly going to change, but for the better. Technology is going to make life much more enjoyable and rewarding for an accountant, and it will only bring benefits to the adviser, and to the client.”
Freddie Faure, Partner of CooperFaure Accountants, adds: “In 10 years’ time there will still be a need for my role as an accountant, as long as I progress with change and rebalance the core of bookkeeping services versus advisory services from a 50-50 split currently, to 25-75.”
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