5 challenges facing accountants in 2019 and how to solve them

The accountancy industry has been evolving at a rapid pace and 2019 will be no different. By the end of the first quarter we’ll know what Brexit will look like and how it will impact all industries, including accounting.

Shortly afterwards, HMRC will go live with the first stage of its strategy to digitise and improve the tax system with Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT.

While the industry is in a period of change and uncertainty, here are the top five concerns facing accountants this year and how Wolters Kluwer believes you can solve them.

1. Staying on top of compliance changes

Each compliance change (GDPR, MTD) has necessitated a period of education and change. Implementing new systems and processes to ensure compliance has meant a move towards digitalisation for many.

Although compliance changes can be onerous and disruptive, they are also a good opportunity to evaluate how you can improve your processes to save time and money and use the compliance changes to your advantage. Using digital processes will speed up the processing time of manual tasks such as data collection and entry. These necessary but manual tasks are expensive and time consuming to maintain.

Embracing digitalisation can help halve the time to complete tasks traditionally fulfilled manually. In addition, the right software partner will help you understand the new legislation and ensure your processes both comply with the incoming legislation and will also work with you to futureproof your processes.

2. Delivering on the same deadlines in half the time

Accountants are often faced with challenging and tight deadlines which can lead to stressful times at work. New disruptive firms with younger accountants are entering the market, using the automated tools to complete double the work in half the time, thereby increasing the cost per client and making the profit older firms just don’t have the capacity for.

Automating as many of your processes as possible can hugely reduce your low skill workload, freeing your time up to dedicate to offering the best financial advice.  By embracing digitalisation now, you will be in a better place to take advantage of other developments in technology such as AI, machine learning as they come available.

 3. Technology changes

According to a Wolters Kluwer survey prepared in 2017, firms who adopted new technologies earlier grew faster than late adopter firms. Software solutions can help accountants manage multiple accounting packages as well as incoming data from HMRC. Solutions such as Wolters Kluwer’s CCH One Click is a single workspace from which accountants can obtain and process data while delivering services that are valued by clients.

There are many benefits to taking the bull by the horns when it comes to technology change:

  • Better planning, greater foresight
  • Minimises manual input and human error
  • Greater visibility with all data being held in one central location
  • Greater collaboration with your clients
  • Quicker results
  • Allowing data to flow easily from clients bookkeeping software to your systems and then onto HMRC
  • Saving time and effort by letting digital software taking the strain

4. Practice growth

In today’s hyper-competitive market, it’s important to frequently challenge yourself on how you can add value to your client regardless of whether you work in-house or in a practice.

According to research conducted by Wolters Kluwer in conjunction with Kelley Market Research, the most successful firms are turning to technology to support more diverse, automated business models. With compliance work contributing 0-3% to revenue growth, advisory services are predicted to contribute 30-40% over the next few years. The latest evidence indicates that firms around the world are using cloud solutions to automate workflows and develop more collaborative relationships with clients.

By empowering your clients to grow and thrive, you’ll be responsible for growing your own practice or department and offering the best possible service to your clients.

5. Managing the increasing demands of your clients

Clients’ needs are changing. They are screaming for more proactive services that they place a higher value on rather than compliance tasks which many younger, tech-enabled clients can complete using software available. Businesses across the board are trying to manage complex growth ad regulation challenges and are seeking advice to help them navigate these challenges.

The solution is to automate processes to create time to focus on innovative technology that really makes a difference. Clients are looking for accounts to move beyond compliance. So, by using innovative technologies that deliver tangible impact you’ll be able to meet the expectations of your clients, then surpass them.

Wolters Kluwer has a specialised team that can support practices through their transition to digitalisation. Contact UK-digitalspecialistteam@wolterskluwer.com to get in touch with our digital experts.

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