Accounting firms must meet the challenge of advising and supporting clients more than ever

December 10th 2021 | Posted by Phil Scott

Given the financial challenges that organisations have encountered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not surprising that they are looking to accounting professionals for advice and support more than ever.

They rely on this support to make sure they are in the best place to secure their financial future and flourish.

This is proving challenging for accounting firms with professionals admitting to losing sleep over the extra workload and pressures. They have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders and are not always in the best position to deal with this due to a lack of technological provision and know-how.


The technology challenge


On top of the financial challenges faced by organisations, they are also dealing with the ongoing spectre of Making Tax Digital (MTD). Accounting firms have the pressure of supporting clients in moving to MTD and making sure their own business can also make the move.

An issue that is making the situation more difficult to navigate for some firms is a lack of technology. New firms are generally in a better position in this area with accounting start-ups being more digitally savvy. This often makes it easier for them to meet the challenge of supporting customers due to their high level of digital expertise and up to date systems. Start-ups are often also more agile by nature which gives them the opportunity to adapt to challenges and situations in the most beneficial manner.

Legacy firms tend to have less digital infrastructure in place and members of the team may not necessarily be technologically aware. These firms have to evolve in order to remain competitive. This involves embracing digital both in terms of working practices and knowledge.

Digital is essential to meeting the challenge

The truth is that digital is no longer something accounting firms can see as an add-on. It has to be something that is integral to their operations. Digital technology enables a firm to be more agile and to have a better real-time view of their clients’ businesses. This makes it easier to meet the challenge of providing accurate, current, and valuable advice and support.

The digital transformation of accounting runs deeper than meeting the demands of clients. It’s an essential factor in stepping forward into an accounting future that is based more on strategic thinking and delivering change than it is on merely bookkeeping and payroll.

If a firm is to hold its own in this new world of accounting, it quite simply has to atomate its processes, and embrace technologies such as Cloud-based management and advanced data analytics.

Having this digital focus in place puts an accounting firm in the best position to support and advise clients in a way that puts them in the best position to navigate a potentially difficult commercial landscape. Importantly for the firm, it also gives them the opportunity to remain competitive in an arena that is becoming ever more crowded with newly emerging accounting services providers.

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