Accounting practices in the UK are changing fast – are you adapting?

By QuickBooks UK

3 min read

The Intuit ProCloud Partner Programme offers a package of benefits and support to help accounting professionals looking to work with their clients online. The ProCloud Partner Programme benefits are free to accountants and bookkeepers with at least one QuickBooks Online active client. Join now.
You will have no doubt noticed yourself that clients’ needs are changing fast and businesses increasingly want much more than traditional accounting practices such as tax returns and VAT help.

People are now used to having facts at their fingertips – via smartphones and tablets, and they are constantly connected via social media. This is a generation of entrepreneurs that demands similarly accessible information about their business.

Here are some of the key changes in what clients want from an accounting professional these days:

  • Real-time information. Clients want up-to-date information to make informed financial decisions.
  • Mobility. Almost all business owners have smartphones or tablets now and they want to be able to manage their business the go. Cloud tools are becoming the new norm. The ability to view information from multiple devices is high on the list of “must haves.”
  • Autonomy. A lot of businesses don’t want to simply hand everything over to their accountant – they want to understand their books and be able to pull out key pieces of data themselves without having to rely on their accountant every time.
  • Easy-to-understand information. Clients want to look at their financial information and see things that they easily understand.
  • Collaboration with their accountant or bookkeeper. Both parties working from the same data makes collaboration much easier and more effective overall. Clients don’t want to be emailing multiple versions of data or entering information twice.

Adapting to change – new opportunities

All this means that the role of accountants and bookkeepers is evolving, and while clients are expecting more, there are also new opportunities for accounting practices.

Adding value

There are lots of ways accounting professionals can add value in the digital age. You could start by looking at the consultancy services you can offer, through your expert knowledge in specific industries and your ability to interpret clients’ data.

Although data is instantly available to a small business owner, do they know what it means in practice?   Are they using reports that really help them understand the key performance indicators for their particular industry?  This is something you can help develop for them.

Your role as an advisor becomes increasingly important in areas such as analysing the growth areas in your clients’ industry, identifying the most profitable parts of their particular business, and looking at how they can exploit opportunities. These are also typically higher value services which will give you better job satisfaction.

Shared tools

Using cloud tools like QuickBooks Online Accountant means you can easily take on functions that small business owners may neglect because they are too busy concentrating on the day-to-day running of their company.

With all your clients’ data stored securely in the cloud, you can review and update it no matter where you or your clients are, provided that you have an internet connection and a device like a smartphone or tablet

Real-time advice

Cloud applications mean you and your client always have the latest figures at your fingertips.

Knowing where your client is financially at any given point allows you to advise them on a huge range of issues. As the person who understands the figures, you can advise clients on better financial management and what changes can be made now to improve their bottom line.

Five ways accounting is changing

Accounting then

Accounting now

An emphasis on face-to-face meetings in the office, during normal working hours. Collaborating constantly with clients using digital tools, regardless of your or their location, both in and outside of normal working hours
Focusing on billable hours. Focusing on results.
Unavoidable long hours during busy periods. Ongoing maintenance and updating of data, rather than a last-minute rush
Adding more and more office space and increasing overheads to make space for files, staff and clients. Downsizing office space and remote working, thanks to technology and online tools.
Bulk of work based around tasks such as tax and VAT returns. Recognising that in order to be loyal, clients want advice, support and guidance.

The Intuit ProCloud Partner Programme offers a package of benefits and support to help accounting professionals looking to work with their clients online. The ProCloud Partner Programme benefits are free to accountants and bookkeepers with at least one QuickBooks Online active client. Join now.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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