Digital disruption is often viewed as a threat to traditional accounting service lines, such as compliance and bookkeeping-related services.
However, Hayes Knight director Greg Hayes says those who believe technology heralds the death of compliance work in the accounting industry are out of touch with the expectations and needs of clients, particularly SMEs.
“There’s no question that technology is challenging some norms, particularly with reporting,” Mr Hayes told AccountantsDaily.
“However, in particular for a lot of these small businesses, it’s a reasonably isolated and lonely experience from a management point of view. It’s the owners that are really making the decisions, and they actually want to have someone to talk to and someone they can run things past,” he said.
“That base compliance requirement is still the backbone of most practices,” he added.
While Mr Hayes believes it’s healthy for the industry to discuss new and efficient means of service provision, he’s also wary of the voices that are pushing the “death of compliance” debate.
“If you’ve been in practice for a long time and you were doing particular things a particular way in the 1980s, of course that doesn’t mean the same way of doing things now is best. There’s no question that evolution is necessary,” he said.
“But I think what happened with the debate is because there are these vested interests out there who are very keen to have accountants buying their products and/or services, they’re certainly stimulating the debate,” he said.