Daniel Richards of MyFirmsApp, a company specialising in the provision of apps for accountants and bookkeepers, stressed that the ‘big shift’ that is threatening the accounting industry revolves around four key points of change:
- The ongoing reduction and disappearance of compliance work;
- The role of software and its potential to replace the role of accountants;
- A move by government into the accountancy market via digitisation;
- An aggressive push by top 10 firms to target smaller clients.
Mr Richards stressed that small business will continue to rely on accounting software and the perks it provides, only serving to further threaten the traditional role of an accountant.
“If you pause to consider the potential impact here, it’s big – big enough to worry about it. It’s easy to see how an emotional bond between the business owner and the accounting software company will become stronger,” said Mr Richards.
“There is only a small step before automation cuts accountants out of the loop completely, especially for smaller businesses and those who need a simple tax return or statutory accounts.”
Mr Richards noted that with the ATO launching their own mobile application, Australian accountants are confused as to how they should embrace the government’s move to digitise tax returns.
“I have seen scores of confused accountants promoting it on their website, failing to understand that they are giving away control of their clients who they should be protecting.”
According to Mr Richards, even the most successful firm right now must be aware of the looming threat within the industry, and must adapt accordingly.
“No matter how good you are right now, you must keep up with the flow and that latest technology to maintain appropriate dialogue with your clients – and your staff.”
He added: “As a firm, regardless of your size, it’s essential that you consider how you interact with your clients today – and how you will engage with them in the future.”