Andrew Sykes, director of RSM, said cloud accounting has revolutionised day-to-day tasks, such as keeping track of income and outgoings as well as finding ways to minimise clients' tax burdens.
“This means that accountants now have more time to really advise clients on what will help their business grow and on planning for the future,” Mr Sykes said.
“Clients' expectations are changing. They no longer want you to provide a picture of their financial position; they want you to analyse and provide advice on what to do to improve it,” he added.
The changing needs of clients coupled with the greater security, convenience and time-saving ability of cloud-based software mean that “the accounting virtually does itself”, according to Mr Sykes.
“This means that the traditional role of the accountant has shifted. Clients are now looking for strategic advisers who can use this up-to-the-minute information to provide greater insight and guidance.
“Accountants who don’t make this shift will find themselves struggling to meet clients’ needs,” he warned.
Mr Sykes noted that in today’s environment, the best accountants have an intimate knowledge of their client’s business and are always searching for future opportunities for them.
“They are always on the lookout for opportunities, and they are experts in their fields, such as taxation, risk management and mergers and acquisitions,” he said.
“By becoming a genuinely trusted adviser, accountants can build longer-term partnerships with clients. This results in more challenging and rewarding work for accountants and it also makes it more likely that they will be able to grow their business over time as clients come to rely on them more and more."