Next up in our Accountex Q+A hotseat is Nick Williams, Head of Business Development at Intuit UK. Nick has extensive experience in the accountancy and payroll software industry and is dedicated with working with practices to help them grow. We caught up with him for 10 minutes to hear his thoughts on the industry and some of the predictions he has for the next 12 months.
What are you most looking forward to at Accountex 2015?
Each year, the progress in technology adoption from our Accounting partners is accelerating such that the drive to improve their client collaboration is front of mind. I am keen to learn more from accountant partner – client experiences on how technology is helping them grow their firms and in turn their client’s business.
There is so much happening in the accounting sector right now, especially from a technology point of view. What do you find most interesting about the changes in the profession?
There is a step change in competition in attracting SMB clients, from newly formed agile firms offering attractive services coupled with the big firms heading towards business start-ups. Traditional firms are under threat with their long term clients beginning to explore alternative value based services. The most interesting point is seeing how managing partners and owners will lead their firms to change. In my opinion, many partners will embrace the challenge and have the talent to deliver the change needed. On the other hand, lack of decision making and firm commitment to change could be fatal in the long term.
What do you think the next 12 months is going to look like for the industry?
I feel there will be an increase in demand for technology enablers and in finding the right talent for firms, coupled with a change in many approaches to client acquisition and the delivery of value added services. This demand will, in my opinion, be ultimately led by start-ups and SMBs.
For firms wanting to make the change to further leverage cloud technology and in doing so, reduce inefficiencies and improve their client collaboration, my session provides an overview of QuickBooks Online platform and simple steps in partnership with QuickBooks to get started.
What are the key changes you’ve seen in small business clients during your time in the industry?
Working with SMBs for 15 years through accounting partners, I have seen the increase in demand for trusted advice from accountants, the bank manager taking a back seat to the thought leading accountant. With SMBs being able to start-up, form their company, assign directors and develop their website in less than a day, the factor of agility and speed is a key component, providing a great opportunity for accountants to mirror this need with their approach to value added services. SMB owner and managers no longer desire real time business information, they demand it, delivered to their [mobile devices.
Based on these changes, what is the one thing accountants must do to adapt and remain successful?
With the growing client demand for information in real time as well as a closer working relationship with their trusted advisor, firms should take this opportunity through developing their service and business model, as well as finding the right talent. But first and foremost, firms must embrace technology and deliver their services via the cloud, giving their clients real time information.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that most people don’t know.
I am a keen swimmer and cyclist, competing in mountain bike and swim long distance racing. I have two sons, 6 & 2 year old who keep me on my toes daily and do their best to reduce my sleeping hours!
You can see Nick tomorrow (Wednesday, 13th May) at 4.20pm on the Intuit QuickBooks stage at Accountex. To find out more about our Accountex speaker line up, visit our Accountant News section on the Small Business Centre