New IT - Who cares?

As I reflect on the last couple of months there have been a couple of highlights; I spent a great day at Accountex in May with my colleagues at Mercia; and then later in the same month had the privilege of being appointed Deputy President of the ICAEW South Western region.

It was certainly exciting at Accountex to see all the new software products and how they can automate so much of the basic work accountants perform, and to hear how supposedly they will give us all so much extra time. However, as I speak to firms as part of my district role (and with my day job as lecturer / reviewer) they seem to be overworked, understaffed and generally still doing the same jobs they did 20 years ago.

It seems to me that MTDfV has not been the landmark moment we maybe thought it would be, and while Cloud accounting has made getting access to clients data easier (gone are the days of posting packets of floppy discs to the office), most firms still use the data like it was stuck on a disk (so 3 months after the yearend, access the date and prepare historic annual accounts). Very few firms use clients’ data to advise them on their business, plan remuneration strategy or even fix bookkeeping errors before the year-end!

So the question to the profession is, what has gone wrong?

The questions for me in thinking about helping firms in my future presidential year (and as director of a training company!) are:

  • Why don’t firms use client’s data proactively?
  • Do clients want to pay for this kind of service?
  • Where are the individuals that want to come into the professional and drive this kind of service?
  • Is professional and other training up to the job of preparing firms for the future?
  • Does anyone care if there is money to be made in just bookkeeping for clients?
  • What does the future hold?


Answers on a postcard / email / blog / carrier pigeon…