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Accounting clients demand 'connection, not compliance'

Those providing basic compliance functions as a core offering won’t survive beyond a decade in accounting practice, according to one consultant.

Accounting clients demand 'connection, not compliance'
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Business consultant Mike Irving said “bean counters” will be lucky to survive the next ten years in financial services if they don’t extend their offerings beyond compliance services.

“People want an accountant who is part of their team, rather than someone they feel they have to go and visit each year to deal with taxes and compliance, get told what to do, and get charged for the dis-pleasure of it,” said Mr Irving

Mr Irving also noted the need for some accountants to step up their customer service and interpersonal relations skills.

“One of the biggest gripes business owners have with their accountants is their lack of vision and people skills,” Mr Irving said.

“Another growing complaint is customer service levels and meeting agreements.

“Some blame outsourcing (which some accountants are doing to increase their profit margins) for this, although it can be done well if managed correctly. If not, it can result in reduced quality of service to their client.

“New technologies are changing the face of the accounting industry, freeing up an accountant’s time enabling them to expand their role from a compliance officer to a trusted business adviser.”

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