The trend of accounting firms diversifying their offerings to include advisory services is growing, however firms are failing to identify where upskilling is required, according to Rhondalynn Korolak, managing director of Businest.
“Right now, when you’re an accountant, your whole job is about accuracy. There is no grey, it’s either right or it's wrong. People give you their documents and you pump out tax returns and BAS reports and whatever else you do,” Ms Korolak told Accountants Daily.
“Being an adviser is about collaborating with the business. It isn’t about telling people stuff, it’s about asking questions and becoming a better listener. We must teach all of these soft skills and disciplines, and I haven’t met a single firm that has any kind of plan in place to do that.”
Based on her own work in the industry, Ms Korolak said there are too many firms marketing themselves as offering advisory services when their employees are not sufficiently trained in how to deliver them.
“If you don’t have a strategy in place and you don’t have the right diagnostic tools and you don’t have a skills deficiency test and you are not actively upskilling all of your client-facing accountants to actually perform advisory services and to add value, you’ve got no business marketing yourself as that,” she said.
Ms Korolak said this lack of training isn’t just limited to Australia, but is happening everywhere.
“There isn’t anyone doing this anywhere. If you go to America, it’s the same thing. They’re no further ahead than we are,” she said.
“Everybody’s got their head in the sand. Everyone’s talking about ‘trusted adviser’, but is anybody actually doing it? No. Is anyone teaching it? No.”