In a survey of 153 accountants conducted by AccountantsDaily, 37.5 per cent claimed to have lost revenue to automation.
In response, Sam Allert, managing director for Australia and New Zealand at Reckon, said he was surprised to see so many accountants say they are losing out.
“In my view, that does seem very high,” he said.
“I spend most of my time with medium to larger practices, being the Reckon APS clients, and I would say that in those businesses the ATO automation certainly hasn’t cost them revenue and if anything is providing additional revenue opportunities.
“I would say that smaller firms would probably be the ones here saying that it has cost them revenue. I think they would look at things like the government's MyTax and say if there is better online personal tools then maybe individuals can go in and lodge their own tax returns – but I actually dispute how much revenue that’s really costing the profession.”
ATO automation, according to Mr Allert, is simply freeing up accountants’ time which can then be spent on more valuable services.
“Overwhelming the general consensus is that automation is streamlining some compliance processes that the profession has been begging to automate for a long time and freeing up time for those better advisory services.”
Mr Allert said he believes the clients who are happiest are the ones whose accountants are providing more services.
“It’s not just about punching in a tax return or a BAS statement or a set of financials, it's actually about saying 'I could be your financial controller, your virtual CFO; I could take a board position; let’s sit down and look at growth strategies for your business; could I do a personal financial plan for you; can I set up an SMSF for you?'.
“All the research shows is the more services accountants provide the happier their clients are,” Mr Allert said.