Speaking to AccountantsDaily, Adam Ferguson, MYOB’s general manager, accountants division said Deloitte Private Connect, launched last week, is an innovative offering from the big four firm that will help redefine an evolving accounting industry.
“I think it speaks very much to the evolution of the collaboration between the accountant and the SME... and using cloud services to facilitate that.”
Mr Ferguson told AccountantsDaily that MYOB is currently developing a comparable client portal of their own that he hopes will help further this evolution across the wider industry.
“When we think about client portals today they are invariably an area for document sharing, very simply, almost a Dropbox between the accountant and SME,” he said.
“We think it can be so much more than that; we think that connecting the SME to the workflow of the accountant will actually change the way in which accountants work with their client and likewise the way in which their clients, the SMEs, engage with their accountant.”
According to Mr Ferguson, the “to and fro” between accountants and their SME clients, chasing up information and documents, is one of the biggest leakages in the entire accounting workflow process.
“It invariably means the accountant puts down a job and has to wait for that information to come in before picking it up again. Having a client portal which is effectively a collaboration platform will enable that workflow process to be far more efficient,” he said.
MYOB’s client portal will sit across both the Accountants Enterprise and Accountants Office suites and form a holistic platform to meet the needs of both accountants and SME clients, Mr Ferguson said.
“We are not thinking about it from purely a general ledger perspective; you need to think about documents, you need to think about tax returns, you need to think about invoices, effectively, it’s almost like a client’s window into the accounting world,” Mr Ferguson said.
“With our suites of products, Accountants Enterprise and Accountants Office, there are multiple modules and the client portal needs to interact with all of those modules, not just general ledger.”
Mr Ferguson said the software giant is definitely not threatened by Deloitte’s foray into development, pointing to a strong history of technological innovation by the big four firms and saying Deloitte Private Connect is not a competitor to MYOB.
“Fundamentally, the difference is that Deloitte are looking to build something to create a competitive edge for their business … We are building a solution we will make available to all accounting firms and then it’s a question of how they utilise that technology to create their own competitive edge,” Mr Ferguson said.
MYOB have not yet announced a release date for their client portal.