Knowledge gap surfaces as compliance work dwindles

As the accounting industry continues to change and clients’ expectations increase, accountants must be aware of potential holes in their knowledge, according to a senior tax expert.

Speaking to AccountantsDaily, Practising Tax senior tax expert Ani Tuna believes there is a growing knowledge gap in the accounting industry as the nature of client services and expectations continues to evolve.

“The accounting industry is really changing, and we're finding that clients are expecting more than just compliance from their accountants,” Ms Tuna said.

“They want their accountants to be more of an adviser, and that's great if you're a big accounting firm and you've got the resources to be able to provide that, but the reality is that for the small-to-medium-sized accounting firms, they don't have the resources. They're so busy and they're so overwhelmed with change that they're struggling to provide that,” she said.

She believes accountants are keen to advance their services in line with client needs, despite these struggles.

“They want the capacity to be able to do the fun stuff, not just filling in boxes in a tax return, no one strives to do that as an accountant; they want to do the fun, value-add stuff,” she said.

“There’s a huge gap in the market for that and there's a huge need for it.”

These comments are in line with recent suggestions from BDO that the plethora of new requirements on tax and accounting professionals, combined with rising client expectations, could lead to a spike in complaints and client dissatisfaction.

“General practitioner-type accountants need to be across all the state tax rules, stamp duty and land tax rules, as well as the superannuation regulations and legislation,” said Marcus Leonard, BDO’s partner in charge, tax.

“Because the taxation regime and requirements have become so complex, it’s extremely difficult to be across everything and there have been unfortunate oversights.”

 

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