The technology revolution brings new and enhanced product offerings all the time. This provides the opportunity to offer new services on a systemised basis and reintroduce a more regular provision of services that may have been considered more of a one-off in the past.
Note however that technology is not the be-all and end-all – sound business sense and knowledge is still an essential requirement. As with anything IT related –put garbage in, get garbage out, however pretty it may look!
Some services may not have been considered due to lack of expertise, excessive time requirements relative to reward (even if value pricing is used), or just lack of time in general to both learn and implement the systems.
The advent of cloud software and add-ons has changed this playing field dramatically with a rethink of some of the service offerings.
Can bookkeeping be classed as a “new service”? Whilst bookkeeping has long been dismissed as not being profitable and cost-effective, new technologies and automation have seen many firms now offering this service and creating dedicated departments. With a complete hands-on the business on a regular basis, this also provides the opportunity to expand into other areas such as credit control and debt chasing – again potentially using software products to automate some of the work.
Cashflow monitoring, planning and forecasting is another service growth area. There are a wide range of products that make use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate this. These can be a simple cash flow forecast or full 3-way projections with a profit and loss account and balance sheet too.
Management accounting and reporting is another “new” area for some, and again made much easier to deliver and systemise with cloud products; online accounting and reporting tools. Once again though, the technology can deliver “pretty pictures”, but you still need to be able to interpret and explain them when asked. What is the point of a spider graph if you and the client do not know what it shows?
How many clients have wills and/or lasting powers of attorney in place? Software is readily available to be able to offer this service too. Although many do see it as the lawyer’s domain, this is perhaps one area where accountants could expand their range of services?
Are really “new” services using technology being offered or is it generally a re-packaging of an existing service?
What service would you like to offer but have not yet found a suitable technology tool to help you deliver this?