Doomsday: do accountants face being squeezed out by cloud switch?

iStock 1143470996 1024x683 1 | Doomsday: do accountants face being squeezed out by cloud switch?
By James Nadal | 23rd August 2021 | 2 min read

With the rapid evolution of cloud accounting tools and the direct interface they offer for end-clients, do accountants face a doomsday scenario where they are side-lined and squeezed out?

A great debate has been raging online after it emerged one software provider has begun marketing directly to accountancy firms’ clients.

Concerns were raised among accountants that their supplier has gone direct to market to their clients without express consent, with the move being described by one accountant as “a little aggressive at best”.

Repercussions for accountancy firms

What does this marketing move mean for the role of the accountant and their relationship with the software vendors they rely on?

Some accounting professionals in the debate felt it was an inevitable move that had been coming for years. There were mixed views, with some expressing shock or irritation, while others suggesting the outrage could be an overreaction.

The debate raised numerous questions, such as who owns the client relationship? Are software vendors overstepping the mark? Is this the kind of future relationship tech firms are looking for?

What does IRIS say?

The answers are clear from IRIS’ perspective.

Jim Scott of IRIS comments on the “doomsday scenario” for accountants being side-lined.

He says: “At IRIS we've always been clear, this isn't the future we envisage for the accountancy profession, quite the opposite. Our strategy and platforms have and will continue to focus on enabling accountants, not subverting them. Enabling accountants means giving them the insight and tools to advise and be the trusted advisors their clients want and need going way beyond the basic compliance that simple bookkeeping offers.

“Accountants’ clients trust them, and technology partners must trust accountants to discuss and recommend the features and products they may benefit from. Technology vendors’ role in this is to ensure they are equipped with the capabilities and information they need to do this effectively.”

Excluding the experts

Jim adds: “Marketing products direct to end clients is akin to drug companies selling direct to patients without a doctor’s advice. It bypasses the font of experience and knowledge that accountants bring to ensure businesses get the right ‘prescription’ for their changing needs.”

Jim explained that IRIS understands delivering excellent accountancy services is at the heart of what accountants do and always comes first.

While accountants may want a vendor like IRIS to help them sell or support technology products into their client base, that should always be done with the agreement and collaboration of the accountant, he says.


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