Accountants typically hold the mantle of the ‘trusted adviser’ with their clients, but that position can work to the detriment of those who take it for granted and aren’t on the front foot with new services and technological opportunities, said Xero’s head of accounting and director at Aptus Accounting and Advisory, James Solomons.
“In my opinion as an accountant … if we’re not actively helping clients make that move to better technology and to help them understand their data, you’ve got to question whether you’re working in their best interest,” Mr Solomons told AccountantsDaily.
Accountants who choose not to adopt new technologies, in particular cloud-based systems, are restricting the types of conversations they can have with their clients, and risking those clients migrating to a professional who can discuss more up-to-date data, Mr Solomons suggested.
This particularly applies when clients have already adopted some cloud technologies personally, but their accountant hasn’t.
“Accountants will be looking at old data, but clients will be looking at yesterday’s data and today’s data,” said Mr Solomons.
Although he noted a positive change in the take-up of new technologies across the industry, Mr Solomons believes one of the more significant barriers is the fear that upgrading may trigger revenue loss.
“The uptake of technology might slow them down from billing, and they’re built around revenue, wages and billing regularly,” Mr Solomons said.
“So they’re willing to move clients to the cloud sometimes, but they won’t move their own firm – there’s a disconnect there because they don’t understand the data that the client has available to them,” he said.