Years ago, hiring accounting firms expected candidates simply to be qualified in accounting or bookkeeping, have had some experience in the field, and to have knowledge of MS Excel or some other accounting software.
Times have changed and what used to be part of an accountant’s duty – data entry, producing reports, etc. – can now be done by business owners – the clients themselves, with user-friendly apps and cloud accounting solutions.
Nowadays, small business owners look for accounting firms for financial and compliance advice, as well as recommendations of what software and systems they should be using, and how to use them.
Therefore accountants and accounting firms need to acquire new skills so to add value to the services they provide. Whereas in the past they were responsible for number crunching, now they make better use of their time studying the latest industry trends and developing training tips for their clients to learn how to use new apps and solutions.
And, as the industry gets more competitive, accountants need to offer great customer service, and should invest time in customer relationships, getting to know their clients and their businesses in depth, so when it comes to analysing their data, accountants are able to provide great insights and much more valuable and tailored financial advice.
The industry is changing, and if they wish to remain relevant, both practice managers and accounting professionals need to keep up and adapt their ''menus' to match their clients’ needs.