Speaking to AccountantsDaily, Chris Ridd, Xero’s managing director, said he agrees with recent comments made by ATO second commissioner Geoff Leeper that accountants could face a huge fee income shortfall as a result of streamlined ATO procedures.
“I think what Geoff presented there was obviously a bit of a wake-up call for a lot of accountants, but quite frankly, we kind of agree,” he said.
Mr Ridd said he encourages all accountants to prepare now for automated processes, adding that those who do not risk losing their business.
“We've been saying for years now that the accounting industry is going through disruption; we've been saying for years that software will automate process; anything that can be automated will be through software, so if your business is primarily focused on compliance as an accountant, or data entry as a bookkeeper, you’re going to be out of business,” he said.
“What we're trying to do, as a leader in the industry, is say we believe in the adviser. We’ve always said smart businesses have good advisers, so we are saying work with us.”
Mr Ridd believes Mr Leeper’s comments have made many people sit up and take notice, saying now is the time for those people to act.
“What we are doing is getting on the front foot and helping because we actually believe in the accounting industry," he said.
“We think it has a big future, but it’s going in a different direction now and quite frankly, business owners want to see their accountant and bookkeeper adding more value, and if they’re not they’ll go and swap adviser.”