The UK’s accountancy industry is growing increasingly competitive. Many practitioners are failing to assert their accounting firms as unique entities that offer something different to clients. Competitive forces are also driving down accounting fees. That’s why practitioners need to put more effort into providing complex advice-based services, not just basic accounting.
Understanding the Rising Demand for Advisory Services
Factors like pension reforms, technology, and the shift towards a progressively freelance economy are opening up new niches for accounting professionals. Their client bases are becoming more demanding. The average client is looking to his or her accounting firm for knowledge-based services that enable them to comply with the increasing number of regulations.
The firms that have the resources to meet these demands for advisory services can drastically increase the sizes of their client portfolios. But, not all accounting firms in the UK are prepared enough to reach out to these clients with customized advisory services. They need to understand the factors that have led to the sudden spike in demand for advisory services –
Access to accounting software tools such as Sage, IRIS, Xero, etc., is making day-to-day accounting tasks easier to accomplish. In a recent survey, accountants admitted to viewing compliance tasks, bookkeeping, accounts preparation, and other day-to-day accounting tasks as less important. 75% of the accountants who responded to this survey said that they plan on spending lesser time on these tasks in the future.
Cloud technology is enabling these accountants to partner with offshore teams. Offshore accounting teams typically have larger workforces. They’re far better equipped to handle time-consuming bookkeeping tasks compared to small workforces inside accounting firms in the UK.
The global COVID19 pandemic is one of the main reasons behind the sudden spike in demand for advisory services. Accounting firm clients spent the pandemic asking their accountants to guide them in key decision-making processes. A lot of these clients are business owners who’ve suffered significant losses because of the pandemic-related lockdowns.
In such uncertain times, they need accounting experts who have a full understanding of technical topics like financial reporting (as per the UK government’s revised rules under the pandemic), applying for furlough schemes, etc. They don’t need their accountants to crunch numbers when their businesses are going down.
They want to receive good advice from their accountants. Even in the post-pandemic world, accountants must step up, cut down the amount of time they spend on day-to-day accounting tasks, and help their clients navigate through this murky financial landscape.
Offering advisory services is something that comes naturally to most accountants. In fact, most accountants have been giving away free advice for a long time. The rising demand for advisory services is getting a lot of attention in the UK because a lot of this country’s accounting professionals want to evolve into a new breed of energetic accountants. They want to work smarter and spend their time on high-value work.
However, not every accountant can afford to free up their time to focus on offering high-quality advisory services that their clients really value. The ones that are have partnered with accounts outsourcing companies in UK. By outsourcing, these accounting firms have been able to sell additional advisory services during and after the pandemic. While it’s nearly impossible for accountants to oversee both accounting and advisory services, outsourcing offers the perfect solution.
Offshore Accountants Have Access to Advanced Technology
The top offshore accounting experts use the latest accounting software tools like – Kashflow, XERO, MYOB, IRIS, Sage Accounts Production, etc. Bear in mind – the business models of these accounting outsourcing firms are entirely reliant on technology. So, accounting firms in the UK should expect frictionless services from these professionals.
Top accounting outsourcing firms also have their own cloud systems with enhanced data security features. So, processes like fast data sharing or instant reporting are very easy to carry out.
Offshore Accountants Offer Growth Hacks
When workers in small-scale accounting firms in the UK discover that 50% or more of their day-to-day responsibilities are being handled by their offshore partners, they feel more inclined to do their best while offering advisory services. In-house workers also get to take off ‘hard’ tasks like daily bookkeeping or creating monthly income statements off their plate. By doing so, they free up a lot of time to pursue other advisory tasks.
Outsourcing Makes Accounting Firms More Market-Flexible
The accounting firms in the UK that already had outsourcing arrangements were able to outperform their competitors during the pandemic. That’s because their offshore accountants typically charge three to four times less than what their in-house accountants charge. These firms could reduce their staffing requirements during the pandemic and still operate efficiently.
For several accounting firms in the UK, their outsourcing partners become extended versions of their in-house workforces. Dedicated teams of offshore accounting experts take care of all the non-core tasks, while the in-house accountants focus on providing value-added services.