2021 Growth Strategies for Accounting Firms
Company accountants, very much trusted by the business owners and privy to the sensitive knowledge. Yet it is very hard for the accounting firms to grow and benefits from current trends and economic expansions. Accounting firms are under constant pressure to keep prices low, work is still labor intensive, while it is expected to keep up with digital technologies and constant upgrades. Upskilling, upgrading the digital know-how and partnering for the future is a must.
THE NEW ROLE OF AN ACCOUNTING FIRM
With the emergence of new technologies, business owners increasingly expect their accountants to advise and safeguard 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.
THE USE OF CLOUD SOFTWARE AND SAAS
More and more cloud software is being used by each company, and 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 skill in the use of such collaborative and professional solutions. Yet, this is the prime opportunity to establish NEW offerings, along the following areas:
Advisory, Support and Oversight - 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, cashflow, and transaction details accountants are quick to pinpoint the issues and needed improvements.
Combine that with knowledge of 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 who 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 a long-term.
OUTSOURCING, 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 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 of 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 use digital technologies, and simply turn a Digital PMO into a high value offering.
it is important to build or partner for capabilities in digital space. The new role could be defined as someone who protects financial and all business critical data and ensure business continuity from fiduciary perspective. Of course accountant is not supposed to secure sales or procurement, however he or she is expected to ensure the company has entire set of agreements, and transactional documentation stored for its company records.
STARTS UPS, ACCELERATORS, INCUBATORS
New business models and companies are being born using these new and alternative methods. As the business is being invented the focus start changing on establishing basic financial measures, and methods to protect 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 the intellectual property and assets. As the company grows so does the need for accounting and professional service firms.