While cloud software providers are yet to fully tap into the potential of big data, Mr Smith said he suspects they are not far off and this will have a huge impact on the accounting profession.
Big data, he said, has the potential to provide business owners, and more importantly, their advisers much greater analyses of the health of a business.
“What I call big data is where it’s doing predictions about what might happen in a business in the future, based on trends and looking at what’s happening in other businesses; really doing that smart predicating of future outcomes.”
Mr Smith said he expects cloud software providers to begin ramping up their efforts around big data and this, he said, is good news for both accountants and their clients.
“What I have always thought would happen is these cloud accounting providers washing their data, making it anonymous, but then allowing small business people to compare their performance to others in their industry."
This will provide accountants, he said, a great opportunity to offer clients more value-add advisory services as the profession moves away from its traditional compliance focus.
“What it does do is give the accountant the opportunity to have another conversation with their client about what’s happening in their business and what it could mean and how to make better business decisions.
“Accountants have to start to provide better advice to businesses on how they can run their business better and do less on the accounting side, because that is going to get more and more commoditised,” Mr Smith said.