What the future holds for small and medium-sized practices - Tech disruption, community spirit and global collaboration.

Technology and digital disruption is changing the world around us and how we live –  social media is changing the way we communicate, Netflix is changing the way we consume entertainment and Airbnb is changing our travel experiences.

The professional services space is no exception to this sea of change. Whether you are an accountant, banker or lawyer, your clients’ expectations are rapidly evolving. This is partly driven by the generational shift in the workplace and marketplace, coupled with the capabilities of the SME sector to extend their reach globally. The good news – we are slowly and surely responding to the disruption happening around us.

I run an accounting firm and I can share some key lessons which may be relevant to you, regardless of the professional services sector you belong to. My firm was one of the first globally to fully adopt cloud accounting technology back in 2009, and since then we have seen the accounting landscape revolutionise from a single ledger concept to an array of over 700 pieces of add-on technology. This has enabled us to provide greater experiences for clients through a broader range of services in a cost-effective manner.

What I find most interesting over the last 10 years is the perpetual increase in dynamic collaboration. When I set up my firm back in 2007, never would we have thought that we could share our experiences with other local accountants. However, communities with professionals openly sharing know-hows have boomed everywhere. Xero and Intuit, the leading tech companies in the accounting space, are driving some of these communities through bringing accountants together at events like Xerocon and QB Connect respectively as well as their national roadshow events. 

Most of these communities have extended global reach, fostering relationships with firms around the world. For instance, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), is a global professional accounting body that facilitates global regulations and supports members in all industries all around the world. This has enabled small and medium-sized practices (SMPs) to compete for global businesses through their own networks.  I am a member of ACCA and my firm is registered by the ACCA.  In being a member, the ACCA has provided a platform for our firm to communicate what we do around the world and for me as the founder to share our experiences with the member network.

The opportunities provided to SMPs is best summarised by Alex Falcon Huerta, a good friend of mine who runs an accounting firm in the UK called Soaring Falcon. Alex shared, ‘I have had global clients from day one thanks to the support given by ACCA. We also use cloud technology to deliver our services remotely, which means we can work with businesses around the world virtually! Additionally through our global network of Xero firms, we can support overseas companies trading in the UK with UK legislation and vice versa.’

Whether you are running a small accounting firm or a legal business, a combination of the right technology, people, and process can open a whole world of opportunities, quite amazingly!

On 28 March 2019, I will be speaking at the ACCA Global Summit in Singapore, where I will share lessons from the evolution a digital accounting firm and what the future holds for the small and medium practice community. I look forward to sharing more in the run up to the as well as the new things I learn at the event.

To find out more about the event, visit: http://bit.ly/ACCAGlobalConnec...


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