Accountants losing clients over limited service offering

Count’s chief executive has urged accountants to consider how to future-proof their businesses, given recent research that indicates clients are leaving their accountants because their range of services is too limited.

In a video message, David Lane warned that the accounting industry is experiencing a “dramatic shift” which is seeing a disruption of traditional business models.

“Look at the world of SMSFs, where historically I know a lot of accountants have been providing admin services for something like $4,000, and today those services are being provided for free, or nearly for free, by various outsource providers,” he said.

Mr Lane quoted research by Investment Trends, which indicated the “number one” reason people leave their accountant is because the acountant does not provide the full suite of services they require.

“So clearly there’s a shift going on, and you need to be prepared for that shift,” Mr Lane said.

“To an extent, you can go out and provide more advisory services: you can provide complex tax work, you can provide advisory services to businesses, you can provide financial advice. All of those things are going to help you develop better client relationships, have sticker clients and really enhance the overall value of your business.”

Investment Trends' 2015 SMSF Investor Report, based on a survey of almost 4,000 trustees earlier this year, also indicates SMSF trustees most commonly look for an accountant who can demonstrate they have good tax and SMSF expertise, whom they perceive to be honest, and with whom they can establish a good relationship/rapport.

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