Accountants struggle with looming ATO requirements
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Accountants struggle with looming ATO requirements

A recent Accountants Daily poll reveals that accountants are not prepared for a shift to real time reporting, which two industry experts believes reflects the slow to change tendencies of the profession.  

Accountants Daily recently ran a poll asking readers if they were ready for a shift to real time reporting, and results so far indicate the answer is no.

From the 105 survey respondents, 38.8 per cent said yes and 61.2 per cent said no.

Intuit senior business development manager Trent McLaren spoke to Accountants Daily about the poll results.

“I’m not too surprised, only because like with anything new thats happening in this industry, most firms and accountants are slow to change,” Mr McLaren said.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s real time reporting or value pricing or advisory services, theres always going to be a smaller percentage, a minority of people that get it and run with it and then youre going to have the laggers who drag behind them and need to be educated by the minority.”

Accodex CEO Chris Hooper told Accountants Daily he too was not surprised by the results.

“I wasn’t at all surprised and I suppose if anything I’m just disappointed or frustrated that the profession isnt moving as fast as I’d maybe hoped,” Mr Hooper said.

While the dialogue is pointing in the right direction, he acknowledged that the shift to working in new ways is never instant.

“I think for a lot of firms, especially already established firms that have a twenty-year-old accounting practice, the shift to real time business intelligence is a monumental shift for those practices to actually undertake,” Mr Hooper said.

“I can appreciate that it’s not like waving a magical wand and its done and dusted. It is something that takes a lot of time and a lot of change management.”

Nonetheless, Mr Hooper said real time reporting is what clients want, and not providing it means firms can risk those clients walking away.

“Every single business on the face of the planet wants to know exactly how their business is performing today rather than six months after the end of the financial year,” he said.

“Of the business owners that weve surveyed, most of them want 90 per cent accurate data today over 99.9 per cent accurate data six months after.”

Mr McLaren added that real time reporting has the potential to strengthen relationships with clients.

“It’s going to enable them to have conversations with their clients on a quarterly or monthly basis thats going to enable them to actually be able to do work with them on a more frequent basis,” he said.

“Its not only going to be better for them, its going to be better for their clients, and if its better for their clients then they’re going to be able to build better trust relationships.”

Mr McLaren said real time reporting will eventually be just another thing that all accountants pick up.

“Real time reporting will come in again under, similar to value pricing and moving in to better advisory services, it will just fall into one of those, ‘Oh, we also need to get better at doing this’,” he said.

“It will just become another topic that’s enforced throughout the year because it helps build on building better relationships and the advisory services space.”

Accountants struggle with looming ATO requirements
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