The new new normal accountancy industry: an opportunity to be ready for

Wolters Kluwer (WKL) is a global leader in professional information, software solutions, and services for the healthcare, tax and accounting; governance, risk and compliance, and legal and regulatory sectors. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with specialized technologies and services.

If 2020 has shown accountants anything, it’s that the ability to be remote, agile and able to collaborate securely with your clients and teams can make or break a practice. Digitalisation has sped up the need to move away from sole reliance on compliance work and offer more value-add advisory services.

Technology has been a double-edged sword for many, speeding up and automating the way accountants complete their work only for clients to expect work and real-time information in half the time. New entrants to the practice market have led to even heftier competition for compliance services.

That’s all before the world was thrown into a global lockdown, forcing practices to face the long-term prospect of managing a practice from home.

Thinking about how you will adapt to the here and now is important. But don’t forget to think seriously about the roles, technology and relationships you will need in a period of growth is even more important.

Steering through the impact it continues to make on your practice is now becoming a long-term strategy. As you answer the question, “Where do we go from here?” and navigate your way back to some resemblance of normality, Wolters Kluwer is at your side with the information and resources you need.

Our focus on customer success is at the centre of everything we do. We have given a lot of thought to how we can support and enable your practice for the economic upturn and the opportunities they face.

Accountants are poised for growth in the coming months. They are primed to be the partner of choice with businesses as they try navigating their way back to some resemblance of normality and then for growth.

Technology is the answer to adapting to change

Many firms already on the path to digitalisation would have seen this period of prolonged remote working and online collaboration as justification for their continued investment in technology, particularly cloud technology to meet the changing times. For others, technology is becoming the key component to accountancy firms going forward for them to thrive and compete in the post-COVID world. COVID-19 has become a catalyst for the investment in cloud technology, enabling secure remote working.

Automating routine tasks like data entry and complex calculations frees up time for your team to do more of what your clients value most - providing insight and supporting their business ambitions. Client service is often viewed as the most important driver of client satisfaction in accountancy, as it is in many other industries and markets. After all, accountancy has never been about numbers, it’s about relationships.

Forward-thinking firms continue to invest in new technology to their advantage, while conservative firms fail to do so.

Technology can unlock time and resources within your practice to deliver an excellent client experience by applying automation to tasks that don’t need those human qualities of intuition, empathy or mental agility. Automation can create space for you to embrace the future of practice growth - business insight.

Advisory services set to soar

Our research has shown us that firms that continue to focus solely on compliance work as part of their practice deliverables can grow annually between 0% to 3%. If you compare that, however, with firms focusing on delivering advisory services to their clients, they can anticipate growth in the region of 10% to 20% annually.

Practices are looking to provide new services, such as advisory, to achieve new growth. Insight and adding value are how many practices are looking at differentiating their practices from being

previously compliance led work looking at historic data to real-time, data rich conversations for the future.

Advisory services will play a critical part in the evolution of practices as they face the growth challenge 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.

In the new normal for accountants, advisory services and real-time insight is key for remaining profitable and relevant as you enter the next phase of this year’s economy.

Are you set to steer your clients out of uncertain times?

Any major change in the business and economic landscape often triggers businesses to review their professional advisers. COVID-19 is no different. To mitigate the challenges they face, businesses might look to new advisers for fresh ideas and advice on how to survive the change. This is an opportunity for your practice to shine, both to existing clients and to prospects, with valuable insight.

For your clients, business intelligence can mean actionable insights and information that can inform their strategic and tactical decisions about products, pricing, competition, markets, investments and growth.

For you, having the right technology in place will be key to you making the most of this opportunity. Consider investing not only in the technology to automate your compliance work, but also in

powerful insight tools that will help you turn complex figures into graphics, making it easier for you to proactively communicate that valuable insight to your clients in a language they will understand.

Who better to advise your clients on how to improve their profitability, prepare forecasts and build a strategic narrative? You have the intuition, experience and resources to guide them through the changes and help them put their business in the best financial state possible.

In becoming their partner of choice in these troubling times, you can help them recoup any losses they may have made and, in turn, recoup any short-term losses of your own. It’s a rewarding cycle of insight and gain.

However, that is not a feasible growth prospect for your practice if gathering those insights takes more time than you can bill. You need to be able to keep your data and actions in the same place rather than performing the analysis in one application and acting on it in another.

Introducing the new financial planning platform for client insight

Wolters Kluwer is launching a brand-new cloud-based financial insight platform called finsit in summer 2020. It turns complex figures into eye-opening graphics, making it easier for you have insight-rich conversations with your clients and provide proactive advice. It has been developed exclusively for accountants who want to strengthen their offering by exceeding expectations and creating added value for clients.

finsit is a periodic reporting tool that will enhance your output, provide key insights, help identify advisory opportunities within your client base, and provide clear reports and KPIs which are easy for the client to understand and interpret.

With it you can provide a standard set of dashboards and reports using data from many of the major bookkeeping products being used by your clients, such as Xero, Twinfield, Exact and Quickbooks.

Get in touch to learn more about finsit and advanced reporting at Wolters Kluwer

Facing today’s challenge as a practice with technology

Based on our research, the challenges that accountants are facing have remained pretty constant over the last few years. But what’s different now is that the pace of change is significantly different to only a short time ago. In this video, Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK’s Product, Strategy & Transformation Director Gareth Cram, and Chartered Accountant Dean Shepherd, reveal the changes and priorities facing accountants this year and what practices can do to increase capacity.

Webinar: Building new insights for your business with Power BI

Watch this webinar with our analytics expert to see how you can use Microsoft Power BI to connect to the CCH Central database to produce some practice management-led KPIs and metrics, taking data already in the database and visualising this in ways not possible before. Register for this on-demand webinar now.

Read next article

Firms in the spotlight