Jackie Brian, acting country manager of Intuit Australia, told AccountantsDaily that an influx of technology has drastically altered the nature of an accountant's business.
“We’re seeing the changes come about very rapidly; PwC released a study earlier this year that stated that the accounting industry is at the highest risk of automation over the next 20 years, and we think it’s essential that accountants and bookkeepers start moving into more of an advisory role,” said Ms Brian.
According to Ms Brian, accountants and bookkeepers have been granted a unique opportunity to deepen the relationship that they maintain with their clients, particularly small businesses.
“In some cases, the way that’s evolving is that accountants are becoming virtual CFOs for small businesses, and they are really becoming that financial adviser, rather than somebody that does the tax a couple of times a year for their clients.”
She added: “It’s a fundamental shift in the value that they’re providing to their clients, and the way that they’re working with them as well.”
Ms Brian explained that new efficiencies courtesy of cloud accounting have blessed accountants with more time and data at their fingertips to become proactive with their offerings, and connect more regularly with clients as opposed to set periods of interaction for compliance services.
With the rapid rise of cloud software, Ms Brian also noted that the shift within the industry showed no rate of slowing down, with machine learning technologies looking to evolve the role of the accountant even further in the near future.
“If we look further forward, then we may reach a point where machine learning will absolutely transform data automation, and will enable accountants to mostly focus on providing business insights to their customers, instead of compliance.”