I spent a few hours at the Xero Roadshow 2019 in Auckland yesterday and attended the session on Future Proofing Your Practice. The main thing I learned (well I actually knew it already) was that having tools doesn’t mean that they are being used. Many accountants are still too busy with their core activities. For all that there’s a growing emphasis on doing more advisory, most are too busy to make the transition.
My summary of the Xero Roadshow 2019 session:
- Despite us accountants being into numbers, it’s all about the people, the people, the people
- Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts. My take on this is if you are not making mistakes, then you are not learning or pushing the boundaries. But don’t make them twice
- Accountants need to remove the word “busy” from their vocabulary
- There’s all this emphasis on doing more advisory but the feedback from a Xero CA Practice survey was:
- The teams below the partners are keen to evolve skills but have no time.
- The partners’ feedback was that having the tools doesn’t mean they are being utilised
- For the average firm, the partners were comfortable with less than 30% of their team engaging in conversations with clients about advisory.
- The pace setters were comfortable with just over 50% of their staff having advisory conversations.
For our analytics firm, we expect all of our young data team to be having conversations with clients on engagements without the partners getting in the middle
All this resonates with us. We’ve talked to lots of CAs in the last two years around the opportunity to use the likes of Power BI and Tableau for their mid-market clients as the BI “lite” solutions just don’t deliver.
Many see the potential for business intelligence/data analytics and visualisation to drive business performance. But only a very few take the opportunity seriously as they are always too busy.
I attended a seminar recently put on by a top 10 CA firm in Auckland. We have been conversing about Power BI for two years. In that time, we have made no progress with providing them a business intelligence solution for their clients. They think they will do it themselves. When I asked on their progress, a partner said, “Yes, we’ve now all got Power BI on our desktop. But nobody knows how to use it!”
So where are CA’s investing their time and money in Continuing Education? Why wouldn’t you learn new tricks to delight clients with new technology or hire in data science/engineering and analytics capability? While many accountants are great at analytics, especially the advanced Excel users, Commerce grads are not educated in data science and engineering. It’s a whole, different skill set.
Business intelligence and tools like Power BI are game changing, eliminating a lot of time doing repetitive analysis in Excel and visualising it so that it is easy to understand for clients. It frees up time to drive business performance by acting on the data, rather than spending the time just finding the data.
ARE YOU READY TO MAKE DRIVING BUSINESS PERFORMANCE EASY WITH SMETRIC INSIGHTS?
If implementing a business intelligence solution interests you, and you’d be keen to discuss how an automated solution could benefit your business or your client’s business, get in touch with us for a coffee chat or a call.