Firms will wither and die unless they adopt IT advances

Speaking at the recent
, IT experts expressed concerns that advisers are not
moving to keep up with clients’ expectations of them in an increasingly online

Dave Reynolds, chairman of the association of IT consultants, IAAITC, said
firms had a maximum of ten years to embrace technological change or risk
becoming obsolete.

‘Increasing use of IT is driven by the under 40s, they are changing
industries overnight,’ said Reynolds.

‘If that group of people carries on changing the way it interfaces with those
that supply services to it, it must hit the accountancy profession, the question
is when.

‘The tendency for clients to age with the firm is a real worry – they can
potentially expire together.’

Only 40% of firms have websites, Reynolds added, and those supplying small
and micro businesses were the worst offenders.

‘[Those clients] are the entrepreneurial businesses where the growth of the
economy comes from, are accountants really delivering the sort of service that
as an economy we want those businesses to have?’

With the government pushing online interaction with business and individuals,
those that fail to adapt will simply fade away and be replaced by more IT-savvy

‘Unless this subset of the accounting community embrace this, there’s a real
risk they will be disenfranchised,’ said BASDA chairman and Sage manager Kevin
Hart.’ There are a number of options available, strategic partnerships with a
third party, embrace technology yourself, or go to your current software
providers – they may help you.

‘You don’t have to [become IT savvy] overnight. The accounting organisations,
like the ICAEW, will also give terrific assistance. You can dip your toe in the
water, perhaps through an outsourced facility until you get more familiar. You
don’t need to make a wholesale shift.’

Other issues discussed in the e-Symposium included ‘Building an award-winning
practice’ and ‘What do today’s entrepreneurs want from their accountants?’

The event host, Accountancy Age group editor-in-chief Damian Wild,
was joined by a group of experts including RSM Bentley Jennison head of audit
and business services John Capper and Adler Shine manager Jon Shine.

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