More than just bean counters; the changing role of the accountant
Traditionally, when asked what service an accountant provided to a client, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to hear “well, they tell me how much profit I have made this year”. To some extent, whilst the overall ethos for an accountant remains to process the year end and give some sort of idea as to how you as a business are performing, the evolution of the expectations of clients has in turn led to a transformation in how we as accountants distinguish ourselves from the rest of the pack. So how are we changing?
Improvements to technology around the turn of the century brought an introduction to the digital age for the majority of the developed world. Similarly, changes to how accountants provide support to our clients was affected by the development of new accounts and tax software and the emergence of the world wide web.
As mentioned before, accountants are now looking at ways in which to separate themselves from everyone else around them. We at Kirkwood Wilson believe we are practising this theory extremely well, underlined by our recent nomination for best accountancy practice in the North West Finance Awards.
In the “olden days” pre-computer, when dinosaurs roamed the streets, accounting was processed manually with a paper and pencil. Columns had to be added up, numbers moved from one page to the next, and trial balance and financial statements were compiled manually.
Improvements to technology around the turn of the century brought an introduction to the digital age for the majority of the developed world. Similarly, changes to how accountants provide support to our clients was affected by the development of new accounts and tax software and the emergence of the world wide web. The concepts remain the same but the mechanics moved from paper to computer to online.
At Kirkwood Wilson, we are not afraid to push the boundaries, developing tools to aid the production of accounts and the management of clients’ businesses and we believe the results are there to be seen when the client receives their year end results.
Cloud accounting is the latest technological breakthrough in accountancy. The future, as I am assured not only by the likes of Microsoft and Apple, but also by leading software providers Sage is cloud-based accounting. This revolutionary software, due for release in early 2015 will allow for a more collaborative approach to the accountant-client relationship.
Once the roll-out of this software becomes universal throughout our client database at Kirkwood Wilson, we aim to introduce a real-time working relationship where the accountant can provide clients with more frequent insights into their business to help them monitor performance, make decisions and plan.
Accountants are embracing opportunities to differentiate their practices and move towards value-added services and a portfolio of business skills including HR, technology, marketing and leadership to help clients beyond the numbers.
The client-accountant relationship is a partnership, with Kirkwood Wilson caring immensely about the success of clients’ businesses and providing a great deal of essential support. We will go the extra mile for our clients, with the aim being to help grow your business in whatever way possible.
“Choosing an accountant is a little bit like choosing your life partner – someone who is there for the long haul who will take the journey to success with you.” (Paul Tooth, Accounting Web)
The word “choice” is key. As accountancy continues to evolve, business owners can benefit from more choice in the type and level of support they can expect from an accountant. Traditional year-end and compliance services remain a very important core service, and accountants are a valuable resource of knowledge and expertise. They help clients achieve their business goals, help them make their business work better.
It is important to us that you make the right decision when choosing your accountant, which is why we still believe in the age of computers, that a traditional face-to-face meeting is the best way to ensure that Kirkwood Wilson can meet your expectations.
As humans, we are wired to not accept change, putting it off wherever possible. Staying in our comfort zone is an intrinsically human thing to do. However, Kirkwood Wilson is excited to be one of the leading practices in instilling this change and we look forward to experiencing it with you along the way.