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Pitcher Partners warns on tech change


The industry bodies need to do more to help smaller firms prepare for technology-driven change, according to Pitcher Partners partner David Knowles.

By Michael Masterman 8 minute read

Mr Knowles, winner of the Thought Leader of the Year award at the Australian Accounting Awards, told AccountantsDaily technology disruption is inevitable in the accounting industry and said many accountants are unprepared for the change.

“So much of accountants’ time is spent on backwards-looking stuff, score keeping and filling in compliance-type documents, whether that’s a BAS or a tax return or historical financial statements, and most of that is going to become automated, so where the bulk of accountants are spending the bulk of their time they won’t be needed,” he said.

“They need to add value, so they need to provide new insights, get closer to their clients’ businesses and change their mindset from looking in the mirror to looking out the windscreen at what’s coming.”

Mr Knowles said the rate of technology-driven change appears to be accelerating, leaving many practitioners unprepared, and he believes the industry bodies need to do more to ensure their members are ready for the change.

“I don’t think the profession is doing much in terms of the peak bodies; they are not really helping their constituents make that change and I think a lot of them haven’t even seen it coming yet,” he said.

“I don’t think the one or two member firms out in the suburbs have quite tweaked as to what is going on; I don’t think they’re getting themselves ready”.

Mr Knowles said he suspects the industry is only just beginning to realise the gravity of the change and expects a lot more to be said and done about the digital disruption in 2015.

“I think with all of these thing you go through a period of denial and then sooner or later the new paradigm gets a broader acceptance and then there’s a bit of a rush for it.

“You go through a period where it takes a lot of talking about before people realise that it's genuine - things aren’t going to be the same, and I’m not sure locally that we are doing enough talking about it,” Mr Knowles said.

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