Many accountants focus on the recurring work that each client requires and the recurring fees that this will earn the practice. This is understandable upto a point.

The busier the accountant becomes the more there is a tendency to avoid opportunities to give ad-hoc special advice. And if it is provided there is a fear that if a high fee is charged this will scare the client off. And then the recurring fees will be lost.

This is a point I alluded to in an earlier blog post in which I noted a common reluctance among many accountants to seek specialist support when clients require advice that goes beyond the accountant’s day to day experience.

A focus on recurring work and the associated recurring fees is also doomed to change in the near future. There are an increasing number of alternative, low cost and professional alternative service providers. Those clients who perceive that all their accountants do is produce accounts and tax returns will be at risk. At the moment there is just a trickle of a move to online, cloud solutions and DIY compliance. This trickle will increase starting at the lower end but across the board as everyone looks to get more value (for which read ‘advice’) from their accountant.

Do you agree? Let me know what you think.

The above comments follow on from yesterday’s blog post and are taken from my contribution to a report, GRD is killing the profession [edit 2018: now out of print],  recently published by Bob Harper. He says it contains contributions from “leading thinkers, advisers and consultants to the accounting profession.”  (Ron Baker, Bob Harper, Dennis Howlett, Mark Lee, Mark Lloydbottom, Michael McKerlie, Finola McManus, Steve Pipe and Paul Shrimpling)