Welcome to the first of our new blogs.
When Duncan Dovico started 13 years ago we lived in a different world of technology. Our important communication was largely done by post or having clients come into the office. Our most common source of interaction with IR was via fax.
We are now keeping in contact with clients via text messages and most of the important information held by IR can be accessed using a secure portal that accountants register for.
We are constantly hearing that accountants will be one of the first professions to become extinct.
Is this really true and is technology really “killing us softly”?
While our client’s expectations have evolved we are still having similar conversations as we were 13 years ago:
- What is my tax position?
- What is the tax consequence of a particular transaction that I am thinking about?
- Is my business as efficient as it should be?
- How can I generate more profit?
What has changed is our ability to have the facts to answer these questions. Access to tax legislation, legal cases and commentary online and up-to-date (in some instances, daily) record keeping have been enormous changes that can help us provide the same core services.
This has driven efficiency within all accounting practices. At one point we employed eight staff, and now we employ 5.2, while being able to complete many more tax returns.
On the other side of this, there are ever changing considerations. Changes in tax law take up a considerable amount of our continuing professional development. Keeping pace with software changes do as well (this will be the topic of our next blog).
The next significant factor will be Anti-Money Laundering obligations and the fact that we are now required to report certain kinds of transactions to various agencies.
Inland Revenue will continue, rightly, to try and simplify the tax system, yet the penalties for getting things wrong haven’t changed.
We’re also seeing a movement where business owners don’t want to be stuck in their office doing paperwork and are looking for their accountants to provide (at a reasonable price) bookkeeping services. Using technology efficiently is allowing us to do this too.
So we’re excited to be entering a new phase of communication. Our blog will replace the end of year newsletter but will also offer some insights and comments into events of the day. Some of the posts will challenge us and some may challenge you too. If it can create discussion, isn’t that a good thing?
And, as a final thought, one of the large accounting firms is currently developing a chat bot where their clients can text in simple questions and the bot will look through the records held for that client and send back a reply.
Would you be comfortable with that?
What message do you think that conveys about how they see the relationship with you?
What value do you think they believe clients place on hearing a friendly voice on the other end of the phone line?