Smaller SMSF practices “leading the pack” on technology

Despite some of the recent discussion on the threats of technology, CPA Australia says it is actually proving to be a significant advantage for many smaller accounting firms.

CPA Australia general manager of public practice Peter Docherty told SMSF Adviser he is seeing a lot of smaller firms, particularly newer practices, with a thorough understanding of technology and who are embracing it to their advantage.

“I’ve seen some smaller accounting firms that are absolutely leading the pack,” he said.

“I’m seeing new practices, particularly younger practices, where they’re more likely to go into a business structure with two or three partners or principals and they tend to work more collaboratively, and they actually understand technology and they are already embracing it.”

Certain technologies such as the cloud he said have been a real advantage to smaller businesses as it allows them to outsource more things.

“They don’t have to worry about keeping the software up to date all the time, they don’t need to be an expert; it’s outsourced to the cloud and it means they can focus on their business which is really good news,” he said.

Mr Docherty said it is still a challenge, however, trying to help older members of the accounting body to understand how technology is an enabler for change.

“They want to manage risk appropriately and sometimes if they can’t actually understand things like how data is stored in the cloud, that sometimes means that they’re slower in reacting to the real opportunities it could provide to them,” he said.

“When I talk to members in one-on-one forums, often they’ll say ‘I don’t understand the cloud’ so then we’ll start to talk about things like software as a service and infrastructure as a service and all of sudden it starts to make sense for them.”

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