Listen up all ye accountants! Some very uncomfortable statistics are emerging about your profession in relation to SMEs. Almost two thirds (64%) of SMEs would consider replacing some of the roles that their accountant currently performs with a cloud-based accounting system.
Already 14 percent of SMEs use cloud-based software to manage their accounts. And, if that’s not worrying enough, online programs such as XERO, SAASU, MYOB and the soon to be released CCH iBizz are making it easier for SMEs to bypass their accountants, and lodge their BAS through lower priced avenues.
These figures are from the latest national research study commissioned by CCH. CCH have gone ahead and teamed up with Brisbane based coaching, content and technology firm; Proactive Accountants Network to educate accountants on the move towards cloud based accounting, with their Remaining Relevant tour to 13 Australian cities. With over 2,000 accountants earmarked to attend, this is the biggest accounting event in Australia.
Rob Nixon, CEO of Proactive Accountants Network said, “Accounting firms are an intermediary that process and compile data. They are in the firing line of being drastically disrupted by the internet. It’s not years away – it is happening right now. I already know of accounting firms who have had ‘ethical clearance’ letters from Asian accounting firms doing the work directly for their clients.”
“They can do this because the accounting data is ‘light’ (a login) and not ‘heavy’ (a USB stick or disk.) When the data is light it is more transportable. Compliance is being commoditised with these tools. You can go to accountants’ websites right now and see ‘packaged’ compliance services advertised at set fees per month!”
It’s not all bad news for accountant. Of the accountants that are embracing the technology, 62% believe the biggest benefit of using a cloud-based system is that it can be accessed from multiple locations, while 32% feel cloud accounting technology means they don’t need to worry about maintenance or purchasing hardware or accounting software.
However, Nixon and CEO of CCH Wolters Kluwer Asia Pacific Russell Evans, want to stem the tide of SMEs doing it on their own as other research has found that 26% of SME businesses failed in part due to failure in seeking professional advice. A further 21% failed after receiving poor professional advice.
“It is in the best interest of accountants to maintain leadership in cloud solutions so they can better service their SME clients.”
However, despite the gloomy weather forecast, if you are an accountant who wants to learn how to service their SME clients better in the new digital economy, then make it a point to put Remaining Relevant on your calendar.