Intuit UK the owner of the accounting software QuickBooks has announced the results of ‘The Changing Role of Accountancy’ study which reveals that 88% of UK small businesses expect their accountants to embrace cloud-based solutions and more than half (58%) are willing to pay more for the privilege.
The research conducted by Coleman Parkes in September and October 2013 on behalf of Intuit UK, highlighted that 40% of SMB’s believe their accountants are far too traditional to move to the cloud and almost two thirds (72%) believe their accountants should update their software to the cloud. This includes being able to service their clients anytime, anywhere and on any device from laptop, tablet and smartphone.
“Intuit’s ‘Changing Role of Accountancy Study’ is a clear message to British accountants to embrace new technology and offer new services. Their clients expect this and many are increasingly looking for their accountants to drop the ‘number cruncher’ label and offer a more “Business Partnership” service by enabling the use of cloud tools.
Mike Williams, Head of Business, Intuit said:
62% of accountants don’t recognise the additional revenue opportunities associated with providing business-consulting advice, despite 95% of their customers willing to pay more
According to the survey nearly two thirds (65%) of small business owners expect their accountants to operate as strategic business advisors with 82% expecting their accountants to be more proactive in developing value added services.
The findings, announced at Intuit’s quarterly meeting of accountants, include:
The Technology Divide
88% of the two hundred small businesses interviewed believe that it is important for their accountants to embrace cloud-based technology or will soon expect them to. Unfortunately, only 61% of the one hundred accountants think their clients would like cloud-based accounting solutions, and an even smaller proportion (37 %) are offering these services already.
Small businesses questioned 82% expect their accountants to be more proactive in developing value added services. This includes increasing their skills base (80%), modernising their brand (72%) and updating their accountancy software (69%). This would help them to move to the position of consultant or advisor. Encouragingly half of accountants agree that they need to strategically change their position in the market and 42% see the cloud enabling them to do this.
The good news for accountancy firms is that nearly all small businesses surveyed are prepared to pay for the additional services they demand including business consulting advice (65%), project financing and reporting (72%). More than half (58%) of those surveyed would pay for cloud-based accounting solutions. An opportunity that accountants aren’t capitalising on as just over a third (37%) recognized how this would help them increase profits.
Charlie Carne, Charlie Carne & Co commented:
Using a cloud-based system has enabled us to increase the range of services that we offer. It also allows us to respond more effectively to our clients’ needs. Intuit’s report, ‘The Changing Role of Accountancy’, indicates that our experience is very much part of a growing trend today. Clients increasingly expect their accountants to offer cloud based services and they are looking for a better, richer offering that will help them to focus less time and energy on accounting and more on growing their business.
Stephen Saw, Project Manager at Coleman Parkes:
The findings from ‘The Changing Role of Accountancy’ study highlight todays trend in services. Technology is a key enabler and SMBs can see a move to online and cloud based solutions are the way forward. It’s vital that accounting firms modernise in line with their clients’ requirements to stay at the forefront of the game, those who don’t will inevitably get left behind
The purpose of Intuit’s ‘Changing Role of Accountancy’ study was to establish a comprehensive set of insights to determine how the accountancy profession is changing against a backdrop of rapidly evolving technological advancements and heightened client expectations, specifically related to cloud based offerings.