According to some of the latest research, accountants are both struggling to keep up with the level of compliance work and facing a downturn in traditional accounting and tax (compliance) work – as systems become more automated and basic bookkeeping and accounting functions are simplified thru Xero and its competitors, then the old fashioned role of the business accountant has changed substantially.
It is no longer about preparing or even reviewing the numbers but about analysing the numbers and providing advice, tools and management change to improve them and drive financial performance for clients.
The research also tells us that accountants are not immune to Business Succession and Exit planning issues with many Australian accounting practices still owned by baby boomers and many practitioners over 70 years old and still working.
Opportunities to assist clients with strategic advisory are growing – in the same way that many firms have introduced financial planning and mortgage broking to both add income streams but also to provide further services to clients (with the added benefit of “ring-fencing” the client), more progressive firms are now adding business units focused on business coaching, exit planning, corporate governance (advisory boards) , capital raising, estate planning and aged care consulting.
These value-added services add substantial value for clients – and they are always happy to pay well for real value – but can also provide interesting career pathways for younger accountants.
In my (biased) view Business Succession and Exit planning offers a great opportunity to build a valuable fee base in parallel with your compliance / tax practice, by taking advantage of the largest transfer of wealth (from the baby boomers) in history.