Technology and the world-wide web have a lot to answer for!
Gone are the days where professional service providers held a virtual monopoly over the information and technical expertise that underpinned their service offering. Further, the regulators move to a risk based “self assessment” environment coupled with increasingly sophisticated intuitive technology has changed the game forever. Whilst XBRL, the global standard for exchanging business information and reporting, started with the big end of town this will be the norm for SME’s within a relatively short period of time.
The demand for compliance and transactional services will continue albeit at lower margins and volume.
Adding insult to injury the competition is moving from being predominately local to global and damn it, many of these players are quicker, better (choke) and cheaper. Another interesting and recent move is that of the Big 4 international accounting firms who have developed comprehensive affordable advisory packages targeted at SME’s, a marketplace they often left to others competitors.
What all this means is that smaller to medium sized accounting practices are under competitive threat from all sides.
Information is free, knowledge is cheap, however wisdom that solves client needs as they arise and better still predicatively, is at the heart of remaining competitive.
The need to change is a given, do you have an end game, a strategy to back it up, a target market and a value proposition that will drive your competitive advantage?