- We need to be increasingly flexible in our approach to doing business as the world changes
- Just because you made money yesterday doesn’t mean you will make money tomorrow
- Rather than fear change, accountants should embrace it, seizing each new opportunity
Continual business transformation is no longer optional. It is required by healthy organisations to maximise opportunities and mitigate challenges. As the world of business jumps to the next level, how can accountants stay ahead of the curve?
Sharpen your skills
The nature of the job means accounting professionals can take advantage of opportunities offered in times of economic turmoil. Keeping skills sharp is key to maximising success for individual careers and client interactions.
"People turn to trusted advisers, and accountants are working long hours to help get their clients' businesses the service they need within a timely manner. This is what we train for."
Staying abreast of the latest skills means you can be equipped to deal with disruption and business transformation.
"Accountants would be wise to invest in additional training. Online courses can be a great way to enhance skills," says McGinty.
Keeping your finger on the pulse also requires networking. It's a crucial part of knowledge expansion, whether you're late in your career and looking for advice on technology, or at the start of your career and need help with client management skills.
Joining your local Chartered Accountants committee or connecting with peers via LinkedIn are simple ways to grow your network. For more detailed peer-to-peer learning, training modules within Chartered Accountants ANZ courses come with discussion groups.
As the world changes, we need to be increasingly flexible in our own approach to doing business. Having the skills to adequately advise clients about digital transformation and provide information about business lifecycle taxation is paramount.
"Accountants are responsible for keeping their clients' heads above water, ensuring the banks are happy, while also ensuring they have the right product and service mix during times when it's more difficult to trade," he says.
"We need to ensure that clients understand that in the world of business, there's no security in the fact that just because you made money yesterday, that you will make money tomorrow."
It's also important that accountants understand compliance through sustained periods of uncertainty and market complexities.
"Accountants should also have the skills to confidently push back when a client has poor financial advice, such as taking part in a wash sale, which the ATO will be on the lookout for," McGinty says.
Meanwhile, accounting firms need to ensure they maintain their own profitability. Identifying key services and upskilling where necessary will help keep over-servicing down without sacrificing client retention.
"There's no point trying to spend 80% of your time trying to make things better for your client when it only brings in 20% of your revenue," says McGinty. "There's never been a better opportunity for accountants to get closer to key clients and demonstrate what a great financial advisor or business mentor you are."
"It's about working out what your key offerings are and ensuring that we support our key clients through their challenges."
"The good news is when an accountant has helped a client navigate an economically challenging period of time, they never leave you."
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