Aesop’s fable The Boy Who Cried Wolf reminds me of the “compliance is dead” rhetoric we have been hearing about in the accounting profession for the past two decades. Whilst the point being made is valid the timing of game changing technology has been slower than first predicted. The introduction of GST in 2000 (oh my goodness, 16 years ago!) also provided accountants with another compliance driven growth spurt.
I don’t believe compliance is dead nor is it likely to die. What has, and will continue to change is the regulators ability to easily access data and continue to adopt tolerable risk practices which creates the less rather than more environment. Technology is also facilitating scale and consequentially global competition which is putting pricing pressure on compliance services.
Lower demand and lower margins for compliance services are the real issues, complacency and supremacy are the killer genes!
First and foremost, accountants should ensure that they maximising the tax and financial management advice needs of their existing clients. The development of business and financial advisory services is of course another great opportunity – it’s a matter of making sure the foundations are right before launching into new service lines.
Accountants, business advisers and financial planners are different animals, always play to your strengths and choose wisely.