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Advice services key to accounting future

Accountants must expand their value proposition, offer a higher level of service in order to future-proof their business and become an integral part of their clients’ lives, according to a recent industry paper.

The GPS Wealth “Melding accounting and advice: How to get future ready in a digital world” white paper examined the changing role of accountants, the benefit of having a broader, deeper client relationship and the risk of doing nothing.

The paper revealed accounting would be one of the next professions to be savaged by digital disruption, with up to 40 per cent of the work traditionally completed by accountants already being done by cloud-based computer programs and cheap, qualified bookkeepers.

It said the best way for accountants to capture growth opportunities and future-proof their business was to offer financial services such as insurance, lending, budgeting and cash-flow management, strategic advice, retirement planning and estate planning.

That could be done in a number of ways, such as establishing a joint venture with an established advice firm, via a referral arrangement or by employing a qualified adviser in-house, it said.

GPS Wealth director and white paper author Greg Holman said accountants were under increasing pressure to demonstrate their point of difference and add value just to maintain their ground.

Those who wanted to gain ground, fend off competitors and achieve sustainable growth must expand their value proposition, beef up their soft skills and team up with the right partners in order to take their business to the next level, Holman said.

“A look at what’s happened in other industries demonstrates that no one can afford to stand still,” he noted.

“Digital disruption will destroy accounting practices that are inefficient, inflexible and provide a low level of service.

“The only way to combat it is to continuously add value and grow organically by steadily increasing fees in line with increasing value.”

Furthermore, accountants still held the coveted position of most trusted adviser, he added.

“They can play a more significant role in their clients’ lives and continue to be their primary trusted adviser, potentially in conjunction with a financial planner, by helping them secure a comfortable retirement and financial independence,” he noted.

“By doing so, they can become an integral part of their clients’ lives and not only at tax time.”

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