Accountancy Age is delighted to welcome Cara Miller, recently voted Young Business Person of the Year for Suffolk, as a new columnist. Running Miller Wash, alongside Colin Wash, she will write regularly on the issues affecting the profession, from her position as an ambitious practice owner
THESE DAYS we can all find the answers to our problems at the click of a button and more and more of us are choosing to use this technology to cut out the middleman.
This is definitely true when it comes to things like online banking, automatic bill paying, completing tax returns and filling in self assessments for HMRC.
After all, many companies and individuals who once employed accountants to manage these sorts of affairs are now going solo.
So where does this leave the occupation of the accountant?
Well, it is true that the 21st century number cruncher needs to be able to offer much more to clients if they are to survive the digital age.
They are competing against apps designed to help with everything from preparing accounts to filing receipts and looking up tax codes and rates to planning big budgets.
But what a computer still cannot do is offer an opinion, build a personal relationship, provide encouragement or indeed, listen to problems, concerns and queries.
And this is exactly where the modern money men come in.
An increasing number of us are using our skills to offer a more comprehensive service to customers and new technology has enabled us to deliver it seamlessly.
It has also meant more people are using our expertise because we are becoming increasingly accessible and affordable.
Accountants have a vast knowledge and the ability to apply it to individuals – a fast and stress-free option for all financial services.
But the world of the internet has opened up new ways of interacting and communicating which in turn, has meant time scales have been reduced and data handling and analysis has been made easier.
These days accountancy is less about compliance work and more about business advisory.
So in fact, the role of accountant is far from dead but, instead, has grown and expanded. Let’s hope it continues to do so.
Drastically fewer offices for HMRC in the hope to reduce their running costs
A CIO has been appointed at BDO from law firm Olswang
Global revenues have risen 8% to $7.6bn (£6bn) for BDO in 2016
The accounting and legal giants have partnered to create DataCheckPoint, an eight-stage data and cyber security audit offering