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Accountants not alone on tech challenges

SMSF accountants should embrace the latest technological developments rather than fear the worst as all industries have to deal with the impacts of rapid change, according to an accounting software provider.

“Like any industry, accountants are feeling overwhelmed, but I don’t think we’re alone,” Reckon Australia and New Zealand managing director Sam Allert told selfmanagedsuper.

“Yes, we’ve got automation, cloud and mobility, and people are talking about artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“But what’s key is rather than looking at them as reducing jobs, I’d say they reduce functions and processes that accountants are doing, which means considering what else they can be doing to add more value and services to your clients, like SMSFs, which still continues to be a growing area, and also succession planning.”

Allert said as technological developments ultimately “freed up accountants” from laborious tasks, the opportunity lay in finding innovative ways to do more for clients.

“Accountants are in high demand and are still the trusted adviser, so some tasks should be automated in order to do more value-add services,” he said.

“And accountants should be talking about these technology developments with their business owner client base [to find] advisory opportunities because as I said, everyone’s going through this change.

“My message to the profession would be that this isn’t a scary time, I think it’s an exciting time.”

He said many accountants and SMSF advisers were uncertain where to start when it came to making positive changes using new technology.

“Sometimes it’s around their businesses, sometimes it’s the actual partners within their practices, but it could be all of the above,” he noted.

“Overwhelmingly, I do think change is happening, and the adoption of cloud and automation – it’s assumed everyone’s using bank data feeds now and they’re as live as they can be – have already been a massive change.”

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