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Compliance 'scaremongering' fuelled by 'vested interests'

Accountants should be wary of “scaremongering” tactics designed to sway people into buying practice software, one mid-tier warns.

Compliance 'scaremongering' fuelled by 'vested interests'
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Chan & Naylor’s co-founder and non-executive chairman Edward Chan says rhetoric concerning the death of compliance is “unfounded” and often stems from people with “vested interests” in selling software.

“Currently, there’s a lot of scaremongering going on about the death of compliance and whenever you read something from someone about the death of compliance, if you dig a little bit deeper, you find that there are vested interests there,” Mr Chan said.

“Any author that writes about the death of compliance is either trying to sell you some software program or trying to sell you some business development or some other stuff, so they create the fear, then they say, ‘Oh, here’s the solution’.”

Mr Chan said while there were fears that cloud computing was “going to get rid of compliance and all accountants [were] going to be out of a job”, the influx of migrants in Australia and increasingly complex tax laws mean that compliance work for accountants will always exist.

While the amount of time spent on compliance work would be significantly reduced due to technology, Mr Chan said the number of clients needing that work completed had increased.

“... Around 400,000 migrants a year ... come into our country. They’re looking for accountants and they’re looking for compliance work to be done, so our population’s increasing, the pie is increasing [and] the complexity of the tax laws are much more complex,” Mr Chan said.

“People that want to do business development, they say typically to accountants, ‘Oh look, compliance is going to disappear and you should be doing advisory work for your clients, and by the way we’ve got this to offer you’.”

While salespeople were entitled to push their products, Mr Chan said he objected to way they “[did] it on the basis of scaremongering, and scaremongering on misinformation and not on facts”.

Mr Chan urged accountants to be wary of industry talk “driven by people with vested interests”.

“Just look behind the rhetoric. When someone says [something] to you, then look behind or dig a bit deeper and you’ll find the real reason.

“Some people say ‘follow the money trail’ and you’ll see they’re trying to sell you something, that’s the money trail and that money trail then tells you what the real motive is.”

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