Speaking to Accountants Daily on the sidelines of the World Congress of Accountants in Sydney, Thomson Reuters head of business development Max Thomas said the UK government’s similar digital push may be beneficial for accountants.
“In the UK, we are seeing a far more digitally-enabled government, which is getting increasingly sophisticated in terms of its demands on software interaction, and more pressure put on accountants to file more often,” said Mr Thomas.
“The demand is because the information is there so there is a move towards a regular monthly filing rather than an annual end of year process which actually creates more work for the accountant but it keeps the accountant closer to their clients as well
“It is a double-edged sword. They are trying to take out the big lumpy year end process and trying to smooth that out into 12 smaller monthly processes for compliance which will necessitate the accountant getting involved every month to be able to oversee that process and make sure it goes well.”
The introduction of Single Touch Payroll (STP) to the Australian business landscape earlier this year follows in the vein of the UK’s Real Time Information.
At present, legislation to expand STP to employers with 19 or less employees from 1 July 2019 is still before the Senate but the ATO has begun seeking expressions of interest from digital services providers to develop Single Touch Payroll software for the micro employer market.
Conversely, Mr Thomas believes an increasingly automated and digital business landscape will give accountants more time to focus on providing value-add advisory services to their clients.
“There is no doubt that as automation kicks in, people’s jobs are going to change – you’re no longer going to need to do much data input, you’re no longer going to be doing a large amount of processing and a lot of the workflow will become automated as well,” he said.
“What that means is that accountants will have much more time to engage with their clients and to engage with the services that they offer them and to be the value add.”
Jotham Lian is the news editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.