26 Sep 2017

IRIS listens to the true voice of the accountant

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26th September 2017: IRIS Accountancy Solutions has today revealed key findings from its extensive research of UK accountants. The UK’s leading software provider for accountants in practice has uncovered the top issues facing practices today, substantiating the climatic flip transforming the industry.

Soliciting the opinions of qualified accountants in practice during September 2017, the Voice of the Accountant research shows practices are beginning to future-proof themselves as the industry progresses on its digital journey.

Political concerns and legislative implications surrounding Brexit, Making Tax Digital (MTD), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as well as Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Financial Reporting Standards (FRS) compliance are prominent. Nearly half (49 per cent) of accountants believe competition to the UK accountancy industry will not increase after Brexit and 61 per cent of accountants think MTD legislation will be further delayed.

Reassuringly, confidence in being ready for legislative changes is evident, with 74 per cent of respondents having informed all their clients regarding AML compliance. Furthermore, 57 per cent have started talking to clients about what the GDPR will mean for them.

Economic feedback highlighted the move towards value-added services, as most respondents have a stable base of clients - and most importantly business intelligence - upon which they can develop further service opportunities. This is evident with 93 per cent undertaking bookkeeping, 77 per cent delivering core compliance services, and 94 per cent providing payroll services.

The research also reveals distinct changes set to appear in the structure of the industry in the coming years, highlighting factors such as generational changes and market consolidation. Nearly two thirds (60 per cent) of accountants agree that practice mergers are driven by the early retirement of practice partners/owners and 44 per cent believe the UK market will continue to consolidate into a smaller number of practices overall. Millennials are driving the technology changes in practices, with nearly two fifths of respondents (37 per cent) under 30 in the technology driving seat.

Finally, the research shows the dependency upon technology and although partly driven by MTD, accountants are reaping the benefits, realising the practice efficiencies and competitive advantages digital transformation is offering. 79 per cent of accountants believe their practices’ reliance upon technology will increase over the next three years and 67 per cent believing there will be an increase in client self-service apps.

Commenting on the findings, Sion Lewis, CEO at IRIS Accountancy Solutions, says,

“The industry is right in the middle of the biggest change we have seen for decades. However, with the disruption comes opportunity – the climatic flip. The results of the research demonstrate there is appetite to offer new services and strategic consultancy, in fact, I believe we are on the cusp of truly seeing the emergence of the virtual CFO.

“Technology will ensure compliance and legislative changes can be fully automated and with growth in areas such as self-service apps, the efficiencies gained will enable professionals to provide much needed senior guidance - simplifying their lives so they can focus on attracting new clients and growing their businesses.

“The key to progression now is to automate critical business processes and workflows so they can provide an end-to-end digital journey from client to government filing that enable greater insights, build deeper, more meaningful and valuable client relationships.”

The Voice of the Accountant research focuses on four key areas impacting accountants including the political implications of MTD, GDPR, AML, FRS, Brexit and all tax in one place. It also highlights the economic impacts of pricing structures, services offered, competition and growth services, along with social changes including generational shifts, mergers, digitisation and commoditisation. Finally, the study looks at the technological pace of change, the skills accountants will need and use of technology in the future.

For a full report of the research, please contact iris@berkeley.global

 

About IRIS Software Group

IRIS is the sixth largest privately owned software supplier in the UK and one of the most trusted business critical software and services providers in the UK today It connects accountants, businesses and their employees enabling them to efficiently manage their financial, compliance and human capital resource requirements to achieve success. 

The business offers the greatest range of specialist accountancy, financial management, human resource management and payroll solutions - delivered as a choice of integrated on premise software and cloud-based applications - managed under the leading IRIS, PTP, KashFlow, Keytime, Cascade, PS Financials, Results Squared and Earnie product brands. These solutions serve over 17,000 Accountancy Practices and more than 80,000 SMEs, corporates, and payroll bureaus across a wide range of UK industry sectors.

For more details visit iris.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter @irisaccountants @irispayroll @kashflow @CascadeHRMS @PSFinancials, @keytime.

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