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The accountancy profession is under threat. Technology is disrupting the way firms work, allowing more and more tasks, such as data entry, to be automated. A few years ago, a business owner would store receipts in a shoebox and hand them to their bookkeeper, who would manually key them into an accounting system. These days such tasks are automated. Bookkeeping products such as Xero allow receipts to be scanned and entered into an accounting system using a smart phone. Staff can enter their expenses quickly and easily, making the shoebox redundant.
With data held securely in the cloud, busy business owners can view the financial health of their businesses on a tablet or phone anywhere and at any time - all they need is an internet connection. They can produce reports and forecasts without needing any input from their accountants.
Even the government is getting in on the act. HMRC’s Making Tax Digital initiative is a key part of the government’s plans to make it easier for individuals and businesses to get their tax right.
Many of the chargeable routine and repetitive tasks currently undertaken by accountants are increasingly being handled by artificial intelligence (AI) enabled software. The AI auditor will be able to analyse data and spot errors far faster and more accurately than a human.
AI will also allow the large accountancy firms to offer cost-effective services to smaller companies, increasing competition in the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.
The accountancy profession will need to adapt and evolve to survive. In the future, accountants will spend more of their time advising clients and providing consultancy services than punching data into Excel spreadsheets.
With the automation of many basic tasks through the use of AI, some accountancy firms may see a decline in revenue and face more competition for new clients. To counter this, they will have to develop a marketing machine that delivers high-quality leads.
Most accounting firms undertake marketing activities - attending local business networking groups, running events for clients and prospects, sending out newsletters, writing blogs and articles for local business magazines. Most, however, lack the proper internal systems and processes to generate enough high-quality leads from marketing activities.
For example, how many firms have systems and processes for business networking events? How well are the staff who attend these events prepared? Do they have a prospect-focused pitch that will engage with the audience? Do they have the right tools, such as business cards, relevant literature and a call to action? What happens after the event? Are conversations documented and prospects followed up in a timely fashion? All too often, a lack of focus and a timely follow-up of potential clients leads to missed opportunities.
Firms with integrated systems and processes for marketing will outperform their competitors by generating more high-quality leads for potential clients matching their ideal profile. Marketing activities can be monitored, allowing costs to be controlled and results measured. Firms can focus on activities that deliver results, such as generating leads or brand awareness.
Accountants understand the need for proper financial systems and controls within a business and will ensure their clients follow best practice. Yet when it comes to sales and marketing, most cannot see that good systems and practices are just as important to maximise business opportunities and generate new revenue.
At Your Sales Department we can help improve systems and processes to ensure you get the most from your marketing. But where should you start? Think about your ideal client profile. How much annual revenue could you earn from such a client?
We have a package called Networking for Success, which will improve your firm’s chances of winning profitable new clients from attending business networking events. How much does this package cost? A lot less than the revenue that will be generated from winning one new client. It is a low-risk way of finding out how we can help your firm.
Why not Contact me to find our more?