Raelene Berryman from Moore Stephens talks to AccountantsDaily about how technology is changing her role as well as the opportunities for mid-tier firms in emerging markets.
Q&A: Raelene Berryman talks technology and emerging markets
How do you think technology is effecting how you service your clients?
I think it’s making things easier. With some of the cloud-based accounting systems I can quite easily get in there and talk to the client while we are both looking at the same screen. I had a client call just yesterday and the receptionist, who does a lot of work for them as they are a small privately owned company, called and ask how to do something in MYOB, I just said well let me log in as well and I was able to talk her through it all. I could see exactly what she was doing and I could talk her through step by step and teach her straightaway. She learnt a skill in five minutes that might have previously taken a couple of days to learn.
I think technology is speeding things up, its making things easier and its making the client interaction a lot more valuable because the clients know they can give you a call and get help straightaway.
How do you make sure your clients are using the right software for them?
We actually have some IT specialists within our team – not internal IT – client-facing IT advisers who keep up to date with exactly what is going on in the market and can help our clients out with all the latest options.
You are leading Moore Stephens' push into western Sydney – why has the firm decided to move into this market?
We've just opened an office in western Sydney because we see a lot of potential in the area. Many of my partners and I feel there is a bit of a gap in the market out there right now. Western Sydney businesses shouldn’t feel that they have to go to the CBD to get their services and at the moment, particularly in the SME market, they feel they either have to use a smaller local firm or have to pay a lot more money to go to the CBD service providers. What we are trying to do is fill that gap and say you can still get quality service in western Sydney without an unreasonable price tag.
Are there any other growth areas Moore Stephens has identified?
Western Sydney is such a broad area and I think there is a lot more scope to expand our operations out here. We are based in Parramatta but if you look at centres like Liverpool, Penrith, even the Hills area, there is a lot of opportunity still here in western Sydney.
I think there is also a lot of opportunity in Queensland. It’s much the same situation as here, businesses in places like Toowoomba or Cairns don’t want to have to travel all the way to Brisbane to get quality service.
Are there any other big issues you see effecting the accounting profession?
I think the biggest issue right now is consolidation and unrest in the market place. With the big four buying out people and a lot of the owners of smaller firms looking to retire, there is a little bit of uncertainty in the market.
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