Marginal Gains: Accountants are carving out a new role

By Steven Cox | 16th May 2016 | 14 min read

From number cruncher to business adviser

No one can deny that the accountant’s role is evolving. While compliance continues to be a given for any practice or firm, most accountants are aiming to become their clients’ trusted adviser, helping them to grow their business or plan their personal finances, rather than ‘just’ keeping on the right side of HMRC.

It’s a trend that most accountants welcome. Good accountants have always sought to add value to their clients. As Woods Squared, an IRIS customer based on the Wirral, put it: “We help our clients to maximise their advantage by analysing what they are doing well and could replicate. In short, we aim to become their virtual finance director and trusted business adviser combined.”

This trend is being accelerated by radical change at HMRC, including its strategy of moving rapidly to implement digital tax accounts. Then there are the changes brought about as a result of the new UK GAAP. This new reporting framework entails having in-depth conversations with clients to assist them in making meaningful, justifiable business decisions based upon new accounting treatments.

If your clients take the compliance side of things almost for granted and want you to focus more on tax planning and business advice, you'll need to minimise the time spent on compliance work, which is where utlising a Marginal Gains strategy comes in.

If you’re able to get routine work done more quickly, you're in a stronger position to move up the value chain by offering these additional services.

Making key marginal gains such as these across your practice can free up valuable time:

  • Automating routine tasks such as maintaining client records and routine data entry
  • Eliminating manual data re-entry
  • Sharpening up and streamlining your business processes
  • Avoiding bottlenecks by looking for ways to communicate quickly and securely with clients

Much of this is achievable by using truly integrated accountancy software, with a constantly refreshed, centralised and single source of data.

Learn more about exactly how and where to implement a marginal gains strategy into your business by subscribing to our free, comprehensive Marginal Gains journey – the first eBook, ‘The Power of Marginal Gains’, is available to download now.

The journey continues…
In the next post in this series, we’ll explore the British-based teams who excelled at their respective disciplines thanks to adopting a marginal gains strategy.
Meanwhile, why not take a look at our previous entry:
- Little victories can win the biggest wars


About the author

Steven Cox

Chief Evangelist

Steve is Chief Evangelist of IRIS; a technologist and chartered accountant (FCCA) who looks at how technology can simplify the modern working environment.

He joined IRIS in 2002, who’s career at IRIS has spanned many areas of the business including Customer Support, Engineering and Product Management. His most recent previous roles at IRIS include Senior Product Director and Interim CTO.

Steve has over 18 years of experience in technology and accounting which he uses to work closely with customers, software companies, accounting/governing bodies and the government to champion the digital transformation of UK Education organisations, SMEs and Accountants.

In Steve’s current role as Chief Evangelist, he has looked across the globe at how technology and legislation is changing the roles and requirements professionals in the workplace and looking to the future to predict how their roles will further evolve.