UK Accountants, Time for a ‘Change of Habit’ & a New Way of Working

Posted on 17th May 2017 in Advisory

Written by Paul Shrimpling

The king might be dead but accountancy as we know it isn’t (yet). However, a new way of working is necessary and essential to survive the inevitability of cloud accounting and Making Tax Digital. We spoke to KPI expert and accountant advisor, Paul Shrimpling, MD of the Remarkable Practice, after Accountex 2017 to find out more about the changing role of accountants and how it’ll affect their firms.

The buzz, energy and sheer numbers of accountants at Accountex this May shows that our profession is now energised for change. The big question is, will this energy turn into action? To help you reach this step, let me first take you back to 2013.

Walking around Accountex 2017, it’s easy to think of 2013 as a lifetime ago. But 2013 was only four years ago! And four years back, two previously dominant household names of business died a tragic death, thanks to technology changes:

  • One of them invented the future then ignored it, because they were happy with where they stood in their industry
  • The other was simply blind to the changes because they were ‘comfortable’ making good money the way they always had

This is directly relevant to you and your firm of accountants. The last four years working exclusively with accountants (and 11 more years before) has shown me two types of accountant in the UK:

  1. Accountants who are comfortable and happy with their lot (or at least say they are)
  2. Accountants who are uncomfortable and absolutely not happy with what they have

It pays to be afraid

Be very wary of feeling comfortable. Kodak held an almost monopolistic position as supplier of celluloid film for cameras. And even though they invented the digital camera, they failed to drive the adoption of their new technology fast enough. This is because of their comfortable position. Their competition then beat them hands down and they died a death in 2013.*

Being happy with your lot now could mean your firm ends up like Blockbuster. This video and DVD rental business was world No.1 but failed to adopt new technology (streaming) and so withered away and eventually died.

The most profitable emotional state

If you’re uncomfortable, you’re in the right emotional state to make the most of the opportunity that is cloud accounting and Making Tax Digital. This is a positive, because discomfort drives your curiosity, which drives your willingness to learn, and drives your desire to take action and change. Discomfort comes when you aren’t making enough money; you aren’t getting enough free time away from your practice; or you aren’t growing fast enough; because your competitors are stealing a march on you; or you want to change but don’t know how to.

You’re uncomfortable, but what actions do you need to take?

  1. Put the adoption of cloud accounting across your clients as the number 1 strategic goal for your firm
  2. Build a few KPIs that support your efforts and drive action across your firm from top to bottom

And which KPIs?

Join me and FUTRLI Co-Founder Amy Harris on Thursday 1st June for a 50 minute webinar to work through the three KPIs that could be the difference between simply surviving MTD or thriving in a MTD world – which would you prefer?

*Yes, Kodak still exists today making printers but this is a very different company (owned by the pension fund of Kodak employees) and it’s tiny compared with the giant that preceded it.


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