Compliance-based work continues to be a subject of debate in the accounting industry – with many believing it will soon become the domain of robots, while others stand firm on the need for human intervention.
Peter Towers, managing director at ESS Biztools, an online-based business consultancy firm, believes there is “nothing further from the truth” in relation to suggestions that compliance work will die for accountants.
“There will always be a need for businesses to receive advice on taxation matters,” said Mr Towers.
While those operating a traditional tax-only practice may struggle if they don’t evolve, Mr Towers believes that with a “relatively small investment” there are a range of services accountants can provide to SMEs to boost revenue prospects.
Many accountants are still not fully on board with providing business advisory services, which can include assistance with cash flow improvement by offering debtor management advice, assistance with risk management activities including Personal Property Securities Register due diligence reviews, and government grant identification.
There are also significant opportunities for recurring revenue in the advisory space. Accountants are well placed to crunch the numbers and assist businesses in setting realistic goals through the development of business plans, which can be annually updated. Further, they can assist business clients with the development and ongoing maintenance of succession plans.
“Accountants providing a broader range of services can really tap into this market opportunity whilst continuing to offer taxation services (admittedly at a lower percentage of total fees) to their clients, thus adding value to their clients’ businesses,” Mr Towers said.