19 September 2018 — News
The accountancy profession needs to change
With technology, accountants can offer expertise and customised services while streamlining many day-to-day tasks, but they must start on this path today, urges Jarno Van Hurne, Solution Marketing Director at Exact Software Netherland BV.
Today’s accountants are still engaging in manual tasks, namely by contracting out their services to companies to do or check the books and offer advice, but, he asks: “What happens when these hours disappear?”
He strongly believes we’ll see accounting evolve into a type of background service, and sooner rather than later: “You will see accountancy firms embracing the digital and getting rid of manual accounting in the next two years.”
But this change clearly brings an opportunity in Jarno’s view: “A set of value-added consultancy services will be the growth area: helping clients understand their figures, providing guidance to help them make better business decisions and of course doing the checks and balances.”
Continuing this current trend, Jarno sees the ‘accountant superhero’ 10 years from now as the external CFO for SMEs, offering a broader spectrum of value-added, affordable advisory services:
“They will provide advice and guidance from their reading and interpretation of the automatically inputted data, helping clients make better business decisions in the areas of tax, financing, mergers and acquisitions, as well as investments. This advice will be enriched by the accountant’s knowledge and understanding of the whole sector drawn from overseeing multiple companies.”
An evolving business needs evolving skills
So which new skills will tomorrow’s accountant superhero need?
Jarno highlights three essential areas that he believes accountants have to strengthen with training:
Which specific aspects of digitalisation can accountants start using today to unlock the opportunity it represents?
Well, Jarno sees three really promising, actionable developments:
If you’re looking to make digitalisation work for you, Jarno’s advice is clear: “Start with digitalisation, specifically automation. Start small but start now”.