As an Advisor we have been, and will continue to face some very challenging times within the accounting and financial services industries. The evolutions of A.I & Robotic advice will definitely threaten some of our work but also being able to manage clients and staff expectations will be a completely new landscape.
Our two cents worth would be that most sophisticated Business owners would still prefer to deal with “People” because of the relationships, rapports and experiences. In my view, the following would be the essentials required to thrive through to the “Firm of the Future” –
💡 Take the Lead and be proactive with your clients’ affairs. SME clients want advisers who have a holistic view to cover all aspects of accounting, finance, business, tax and commercial transactions.
💡If a firm cannot offer holistic advice due to its capacity, consider being a specialist in an area of expertise and forming a collaboration with a group of trusted advisors/alliances.
💡We need to do more! Not just to understand your client’s financials but also their goals (both professional and personal), their expectations and desired lifestyles etc. Your SME clients are not only concerned with the numbers and taxes so we need to stop thinking or talking like a typical accountant.
💡Embrace in “Technology and social media” to heavily improve the productively of the firm and branding. Networking is not for everyone but it is inevitable as people “buy” into people.
💡Be an excellent communicator, always under promise and over deliver. Rather than just focus on the technical skills, firms should develop their team’s soft skills and interpersonal skills to be able to also communicate with clients on a more personal/social level.
💡Invest more time in your staff for retention purposes. Sharing the firm’s vision, allowing flexibility, continued education and recognition are required to develop the team.
💡Each owner of a Firm needs to take a greater responsibility in the Firm’s operations, strategic plans and risk management. Due to the entire landscapes of client’s expectation, staff retention, technology disruption and uncertainly of the global economy, each owner needs to get back into the steering wheel to drive the business forward and to build the relationships with the clients and stakeholders. I do not believe that owners are able to afford to work minimal hours in order to earning a big pay cheque.
Even though it doesn’t sound so positive with the future social environment and the challenges that firms will be facing, the up-side is that there are always opportunities created during times of uncertainty so you will either need to “Lift or Fold”