Speaking to Accountants Daily, Prime Partners director, George Morice said practitioners have been bombarded with the notion that advisory will be the way forward for the industry without fully understanding what is needed to provide the service.
“Many accountants and bookkeepers have been assuming that with technology and their accounting background that they will be good business advisers,” said Mr Morice.
“The truth is it is a separate skill and as a result they are giving average advice. In addition to hiring specific staff for advisory we have made large investments in training and time to make sure that we are true advisers to clients.
“The pace of change is not slowing down and 2019 will be a year where firms need to be more active than ever in staying at the front on their industry or risk falling behind.”
Smithink director David Smith believes accountants have yet to fully adopt advisory because of misinterpretations of the service.
“Maybe I am talking more from hope than reality but I’d like to think that accounting firms will finally realise that the key to business advisory is how they engage with their clients, the way they do a needs review to unlock the issues that are concerning a client to determine how the firm can help them,” said Mr Smith.
“It is not about software, not about actual service offerings, it is actually about engaging with clients and I continue to hope that we will get some traction on that.
“It’s a skill that most accountants haven’t learnt. Interestingly, financial planners are much better at this than accountants. There are issues where you start to have these broad-ranging discussions with a client and one of the things you could be worried about is that if the client starts raising a whole variety of issues – can you help them with it?
“You need to build a network of advisers around you so it doesn’t matter what question the client raises so you can help them resolve it.”
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.