Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) Victorian vice president, Sam Zervides, said accountants should restructure their practices and develop new revenue streams and service offerings in the wake of the upcoming changes and challenges they may face.
Surveys of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) confirmed that accountants were regarded as “trusted advisers", but that they did not take an active leadership role in the provision of client service and engagement.
Zervides said the traditional accountant model was now obsolete, and accountants must go beyond the trusted adviser and become the “trusted business partner” for SME clients.
“By taking action now accounting firms can propel their business to the next level and deliver more value – especially to SME clients,” said Zervides. “However, in order for accountants to remain relevant in an intensely competitive market, a new paradigm and mindset is needed”.
Zervides said accountants would be better positioned to address the needs of their clients should they develop a network of alliance relationships with fellow professional advice practitioners that promoted new services and facilities, which, in turn, generated more revenue.
“The integration of a financial planning offering should be a priority as it will provide the accountant with a stronger grasp of their clients’ financial situations and enable them to provide a greater depth of financial/insurance/superannuation strategies, cash-flow management, business succession and retirement planning options,” he said.
“The tide is definitely rising and those accountants that take action and future proof their businesses now will be winning practices of tomorrow.”