Speaking to New Accountant, Planet Consulting principal consultant Rob Pillans said most accountants entering the industry are likely to be starting with a base of accounting work whether that’s some basic bookkeeping or completing financial statements and tax returns.
Mr Pillans said this compliance is vital, but there is ongoing and compounding price pressure.
“I think we're also seeing expectations changing because some of the software suppliers like Quickbooks and MYOB tell their customers that their software is easy to use and how easy things should be so sometimes I think that creates a false expectation among clients where they more or less think it happens on its own,” he said.
The real value, Mr Pillans believes, is going to be with services that are forward looking.
“At a very basic level that's things like cash forecasting and budgeting, looking at the numbers and talking to the clients on a regular basis about what those numbers mean for the decisions that you're going to be making for the future of the business,” he said.
“Where the accountant becomes an integral part of the decision-making process for the business that’s very valuable for the client.”
The integration between accounting and financial planning services is also proving to be opportunity for many accounting firms.
“Financial planning can be a defensive strategy for accounting firms in the sense that you don't want other accountants getting their foot in their door by offering financial planning,” he said.
“The client may want some financial planning and if you can’t deliver it the client will go elsewhere and they may suddenly decide they’ll go to that other organisation for everything they need.”
Post Royal Commission, there might also be a very good opportunity for the accountant to be seen as the trusted professional and do more in that space, he added.
“People are going to be a little more cynical about some of the other people who are providing advice in that space, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the accountant has to have that in house, they might just be an authorised representative.”