There has never been a stronger drive to embrace digitalisation in the tax and accounting profession. More governments across Europe are driving new digital data policies which are speeding up this change but also creating opportunity for market disruption. In the UK, Making Tax Digital (MTD) has been a catalyst for this sense of urgency.
HMRC’s initiative is set to make the UK tax system one of the most efficient and effective in the world. Practices are facing a golden opportunity to embrace digitalisation and boost efficiency and customers support.
MTD is an opportunity to review your current processes with a clear objective, to automated as many processes as possible. By using the right strategies and implementing the latest digital technology, your MTD preparations could catapult your practice ahead of the curve with future-proofed processes.
Why stop at MTD?
Why stop with your tax compliance processes? Adopting automation throughout your practice will take the strain off processes that are taking time and running the risk of manual error. Document management is another area where you could unlock time for new services. Digital document management is vital for driving efficient processes and water tight compliance.
Embracing digitalisation will enable your business to look beyond compliance and provide more value added and advisory services and grow your business.
Is your practice ready for the shift?
Shifting your mindset to advisory
The move from compliance to advisory requires a serious mindset shift. Before you can even consider the types of services to offer, you will need to embrace this change, a possible re-education of your staff and a new business strategy.
You will need to accept that the role of your practice will change from providing data entry and box checking to providing value added services. Billing by the hour will no longer be an option, and the price you will be able to charge for compliance will be forced down by fully automated firms who go above and beyond expectations with business advice that clients are calling for.
Compliance work requires retrospective review, looking back at past results and making calculations based on past decisions. Advisory services on the other hand is a forward-facing perspective, to make predictions and give business advice based on expertise and previous results.
Furthermore, accountants will need to shift from contact on a ‘once a year mentality’ currently shared by both clients and accountants. Thanks to easily available data in the cloud all year round, there is an opportunity to add value to your client’s bottom line. Ongoing communication opens the conversation to discuss additional services and with resulting growth to your practice.
Next, the move from compliance will require practices to take a step back from what is believed to have brought growth in the past – day-to-day operations and compliance tasks – to concentrate on strategy, business development and business alliances. Ultimately, the aim is to build a valuable and resilient firm or decline.
Automate what you can
Most, if not all, practices will evolve. What will set one practice apart from another is customer experience. You will need to take proactive steps to find what differentiates your practice from the next and importantly what experience each of your client’s value.
Start by freeing up time by proactively deciding what processes can be automated and where efficiencies can be found. Results are proving the pioneers right in their proactive approach to automation. Data shows a direct correlation between firms migrating to cloud technology and productivity, increased profitability and employee and customer satisfaction.
Advisory services will play a critical part in the evolution of practices as they face today’s growth and compliance challenges head on. Practices who have already begun thinking about an advisory model have seen first-hand the financial and professional rewards for their practices and their clients, as well as improved client and employee retention.
Download our whitepaper, Reinventing the tax and accounting profession, for more information on how your practice can make the transition to advisory services.