Everyone tells us about the pace of change and how fast it is. But when we step back for a moment, there are three separate issues to consider and the real rate of change for your practice may well be slower than others would have us believe. Too many people seem to
In recent years a number of commentators have suggested that we need to adopt a new mindset. Instead of distinguishing our marketing and sales activities dependent on whether our focus is 'B to B', or 'B to C', they want us to recognise that, today, everything is 'H to H'. The idea
Not all accountants believe all of these fallacies. And some have been part of our psyche for so long we think they must be true. Others are repeated by salespeople and consultants who want you to believe stuff so that you'll buy what they're selling. But a salesman's assertions are not proof.
You're not alone if you're fed up of hearing commentators, software vendors and app developers tell you about your existing clients. I'm not in practice any more and I'm certainly fed up of it - as what they are saying makes no sense. Whatever new developments, new opportunities and changes come about
When I am invited to speak at a firm’s away day the organisers often want me to influence the older partners whom the management team consider to be complacent. They tell me that some of these partners, with their well established client portfolios, are resistant to change and to doing things differently.
An increasing number of journalists and podcasters want to interview me about my views of the future for accountants. On reflection though I suspect I am sometimes a disappointing interviewee. This is not due to excess modesty as regards my conversational skills or my ability to explain and justify my predictions. On
My conversations with sole practitioner accountants over the years suggest that many are happy enough once their practice is generating sufficient income for them. They have reached the stage where they feel comfortable, some might say, complacent. To the outsider the practice, the business, has plateaued. 'Happy enough' is hardly an enthusiastic
Have you ever thought about the similarities between accountants and doctors? And what we can learn from this? Let's leave aside the fact that many accountants have historically been described as general practitioners (GPs) - which is a direct take from the medical world. When we go to the doctor we expect
For 75 years, from 1911 until 1986, miners carried caged canaries while at work. If there was any methane or carbon monoxide in the mine, the canary would die before the concentration of gas reached levels that are hazardous to humans. This is the origin of the metaphor 'a canary in a
After I recently delivered a talk about the future for accountants I was asked a popular question: Do you see increased automation as a threat or an opportunity for accountants? I explained that I don't like giving a simplistic answer - although, if forced, I would have to say that automation, as ever,
Recently I was asked this question: "Can a traditional accountant also be a modern accountant?" The person asking me this was what we might think of as an 'old-school' traditional accountant. But they liked to also think of themselves as modern. I think they had seen an article that suggested that traditional
Whilst I pose this question about competitive forces in the context of accountants, you might also find the concept helpful when talking with clients. Michael Porter first published his five forces model in a 1979 article published in the Harvard Business Review. In the context of an accountancy firm looking to the future,
In June 2009 I wrote a blog piece titled: "The future of compliance services for accountants" I didn't go for big headlines in 2009. I didn't say anything outrageous and I didn't look to attract attendees at high-priced seminars to help accountants survive and thrive in a brave new world. I did
If you've been following me for a while you'll know I like to debunk the hype around many issues addressed by other commentators. Sometimes they are right on the money but often they are way off the mark - and this can be for any of a number of reasons. Are you
The biggest issue facing accountants in practice these days isn't the rise of robo-accountants, AI or cloud computing. The challenge that seems to hold many firms back is the same old chestnut it's always been. It's the difficulty in finding good people to join the firm. Almost every week I get approached by the
Another journalist approached me recently, this time wanting some quotes for an article intended to help accountants who have been running their practice for one year. As usual I made some notes to inform my quotes and, as usual, I'm now able to share these on my blog. You should find the
Accountancy firms need to evolve to address the changes that the future heralds. What changes? Well, there’s lots coming but the changes that will most impact your life and your practice depend on many factors. It is just daft, if not lazy, to suggest that the same issues will affect ‘all’ accountants
When I write and talk about the future for accountants I debunk the hype (and fake news) that suggests that compliance work is dying. It's NOT. However I do believe that within ten years or so, most of the compliance focused work currently done by general practitioners will no longer be required.
When we talk about the future most of us struggle to recognise what changes are coming and the impact these will have on our lives and work. There is a common tendency to think only about the next year or two and to dismiss anything beyond that as science fiction. In my
A journalist asked me this question last month. “What will accountants be doing differently in 2019?” Before replying I gathered my thoughts which I now share below. For reasons which will become obvious I didn’t say all this when I spoke with the journalist! As usual there’s an implicit assumption in the
What is the real reason you are in practice as an accountant? This is a question many accountants struggle to answer when I ask them. Why do you do what you do? What is the first thing that comes to mind as to your motivation to be in practice as an accountant?
During my talks about the future for accountants I sometimes share a famous quote from Bill Gates. Before repeating it here, let me just offer some context. There has long been a tendency to over-hype new ideas and initiatives. Some accountants jump on the bandwagon early which is great. I don’t do
A Thomson Reuters survey of 350 UK accountants in June 2018 revealed six key areas to consider "as you step into the next decade". I have added my own commentary and views to the headline topics below: 1. Accept business model change The accountants believe that compliance will continue to sit at
Another day, another commentator bemoaning what they perceive as accountants’ resistance to change. I don’t see it that way at all. Busy accountants running busy firms have to prioritise. And preparing for the future is not a priority (yet). The accountants I talk with are tightly focused on keeping their best clients
When we go to see a local GP we expect them to fulfil 3 primary roles. We need them to diagnose our problems, to prescribe solutions and to care for us. There is a direct parallel with the role of accountants. There is also a similar prospect of patients/clients adopting AI solutions to address