Smartphones have been around now for about 10 years. They changed the way people work, shop, take photos, get their news, get online, and more.
Looking back now, creating a smartphone seems like a no-brainer for companies like Apple and Samsung, but most people believed the idea would fail 10 years ago. Critics thought the phone market was saturated with giants Nokia and Blackberry. They thought the iPhone would destroy Apple’s best selling product – the iPod.
Steve Jobs, however, had the foresight to understand where the world was headed, and he was willing to risk his company’s viability to stay ahead of the curve. Standing still was not an option for Jobs or Apple.
The accounting world today faces a similar fork in the road.
The industry as a whole is doing very well by performing the same tax and auditing compliance-based services that has for the last 50 or so years. But just like smartphones, accounting is changing. Automation and technology are replacing a lot of the write-up and bookkeeping work that was traditionally done on spreadsheets or ledger paper. Tax returns are beginning to be scanned automatically and imported directly from brokerage firms and payroll services. Auditing tasks will soon be done by computer programs – not humans.
It’s hard to even imagine all the changes that will come with artificial intelligence. As we said, the world is changing, and the way accountants have traditionally done work is not going to be sufficient for the CPA firms of the future. Be Apple. Don’t be Blackberry.
If a CPA firm offers mostly compliance work – tax returns, compilations, reviews, and audits – then it’s time for them to start looking for new service lines that involve more advisory services, like advanced financial planning, business consulting, and cybersecurity risk evaluations. Now is the time to start thinking about where the firm should be positioned five years from now and what services need to be offered in order to be competitive in the future.
CPA firms could safely be five or ten years behind on technology, but those days are over. People demand the cutting edge anywhere they go. Firms need to embrace change as part of their culture and never become complacent. Our purpose at DRDA is creating sustainable value for our clients and ourselves. That’s why we teach clients how to use today’s latest accounting software rather than go with the traditional approach of doing it for them. DRDA has also developed a robust Management Advisory Services offering to help our clients better define and achieve their business and financial goals. The extra mile we go for our clients is what sets us apart from other CPA firms. We aim to lead. We aim to be at the forefront of new technology and practices. We aim to help our clients for a very long time.