Wealth management the mainstay of mid-sized accountant firms

Accounting firms will continue to expect wealth management, superannuation, tax consulting, business advisory, and management consulting to be their primary areas of market growth in 2016, according to CommBank.

The December 2015 Accounting Market Pulse report found 44 per cent of the 36 accounting firms surveyed would focus on wealth management and financial planning in Wave 1 of the 2016 financial year, up from 25 per cent in Wave 2 of the 2015 financial year.

However, large firm leaders were less enthusiastic about revenue from wealth management and financial planning. While 100 per cent of large firms forecast more revenue from this area in 2015, this was down to 50 per cent of large firms in 2016.

Mid-sized firms, on the other hand, were more confident in the area, with 100 per cent of the firms expecting revenue from this service line, up from 75 per cent in 2015.

The percentage of accounting firms that would focus on superannuation had also jumped to 44 per cent in 2016, up from 20 per cent in 2015, while tax consulting was up from 30 per cent to 39 per cent.

Meanwhile, 71 per cent of mid-sized firms expected revenue from superannuation-related services, down from 80 per cent in 2015, while 50 per cent of large firms excepted revenue from this area.

Commonwealth Bank national manager, professional services, Marc Totaro, said accounting firms were constantly looking to cross-sell higher margin services to bring in revenue and remain profitable.

"Firms are also exploring new revenue streams, with the larger firms leading the way in expanding into non-traditional areas like legal services, recruitment and digital services," he said.

More than half of all accounting firms (53 per cent) have implemented mobile solutions and document automation, and frequently use them, while half of all firms have implemented and frequently use cloud based computing and storage, the report said.

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