Accountants Need to Wake Up to the Cloud or Risk Losing Clients

88 per cent of SMB’s demand cloud-based services from their accountants according to latest findings from Intuit ‘The Changing Role of Accountancy’ Study

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 — #futureaccountant #IntuitUK #Accountants #SmallBizUK

LONDON, 27 November  2013Intuit UK today 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. These findings highlight a tremendous gap between the services accountants currently offer their small business clients, and the level of innovation that their clients are demanding.

Findings from Intuit’s ‘The Changing Role of Accountancy’ study of 100 accountancy firms and 200 SMB’s across the UK illustrate the urgency for British accountants to move from desktop to cloud-based software or risk losing clients. 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 wake-up call for 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 cloud based services. It is a worry that 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,” explained Mike Williams, Head of Business, Intuit.

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. Those firms who are not prepared to embrace modern practices could lose their clients to more progressive accountants.

The findings, announced at Intuit’s quarterly meeting of accountants today, 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.
  • Adding Value – Of the 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.
  • Revenue opportunities – 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. And we have won more business as a result. 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.”

“According to the latest GDP figures from October 2013, Britain is now moving towards recovery. With improved economic performance across nearly every sector this is an exciting time. At Intuit we play a key role in helping accountants make the most of the opportunities available, and by using the latest technology they can enhance their client solutions. We are committed to offering them training and support to move their practices to cloud-based accounting, whilst helping them to grow their practices as Britain’s economy starts to recover,” said Williams.

"The outlook looks better than at any time since the onset of the financial crisis. Indeed, our members have more confidence in the economy than at any time since 2008,” said The Institute of Directors' chief economist Graeme Leach – BBC 25 October 2013.

“The findings from ‘The Changing Role of Accountancy’ study highlight the growing divide between the needs of small businesses and the services provided by their accountants. 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,” summarised Coleman Parkes’ project manager Stephen Saw.

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.  QuickBooks online and Intuit’s Cloud ProAdvisor Programme is enabling accountants and bookkeepers to capatalise on this opportunity.

* Intuit (UK) Ltd commissioned a study into ‘The Changing Role of Accountancy’. Conducted by Coleman Parkes in September and October 2013, this UK research includes feedback from 100 senior managers and owners of accountancy firms with between five and 250 employees. In addition 200 senior managers and owners of SMBs with between two and 250 employees were interviewed.

 

About Intuit in the UK

Intuit in the U.K. helps small businesses get paid, manage their money and pay their employees, and accounting professionals be more productive and grow their practices. The company’s flagship products in the U.K. include QuickBooks, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Payroll and Intuit Pay. For more information visit www.intuit.co.uk

Intuit Limited is a company registered in England and Wales (Company No. 2679414) with registered address and principal place of business in 1 Cathedral Piazza SW1E 5BP London.  Intuit Limited is a subsidiary of Intuit Inc.

 

About Intuit Inc.

Intuit Inc. creates business and financial management solutions that simplify the business of life for small businesses, consumers and accounting professionals. Its flagship products and services include QuickBooks®, Quicken® and TurboTax®, which make it easier to manage small businesses and payroll processing, personal finance, and tax preparation and filing. Mint.com provides a fresh, easy and intelligent way for people to manage their money, while Demandforce® offers marketing and communication tools for small businesses. ProSeries® and Lacerte® are Intuit's leading tax preparation offerings for professional accountants.
Founded in 1983, Intuit had revenue of $4.2 billion in its fiscal year 2013. The company has approximately 8,000 employees with major offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India and other locations. More information can be found at www.intuit.com.

 

About Coleman Parkes Research

Coleman Parkes Research provides comprehensive bespoke research services, designing the most appropriate project to meet the business objectives of its clients, and always with a view to provoking debate leading to real business change.

 

 

Contacts:             

Tariq Ahmed

Intuit (UK) Ltd

020 7824 0002

Tariq_Ahmed@intuit.com

 

Jenny Wood

Seven Hills

020 7199 6187

jenny.wood@sevenhillsgroup.co.uk

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