In her day-to-day consulting with accounting firms, Intuitive Practice director Lynda Steffens is finding many firms are persisting with systems and processes that are no longer fit for purpose, often because of the significant time and cost required for an overhaul.
“Accountants tend to be "if it ain't broke, don't change it" and I think with the advancement of technology and the pace of change these days, you simply can't choose one way or one system, or one tool to do something and stick with it for five, 10, 15, or 20 years,” said Ms Steffens.
“I won't say we are in a period of unprecedented change because in any part of history we've always had a lot of change but the speed of technological advancements at the moment is fast and ever increasing," she added.
However, Mayflower Consulting director Sarah Penn sees green shoots, particularly among incoming generations.
“I do think there's distinct groups within the accounting industry, there's lots of younger accountants who are really making the effort to run a primarily online business that is very efficient but delivers excellent customer service that allows them to work on the business rather than in the business but I do think however, that there's definitely a contingent of people who resist change,” said Ms Penn.
“Quite often you do need someone externally to [lead change] especially if the reason you've got a consultant in in the first place is because you're so busy you don't know if you're Arthur or Martha, the idea that you're somehow going to have spare time to go around and check if everybody is on board with the changes you make is unrealistic.
“Change isn't easy, people horribly underestimate how easy it is to bring about change for themselves as a person or as a business and unfortunately you generally need the change from the person or people before you get any change in the business.”
Jotham Lian is the news editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.