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A key finding we found interesting is the services small businesses want their accountants to provide beyond tax preparation and bookkeeping:
- 57% want more business planning and strategic advice,
- 30% want more help with tax planning,
- 22% want better business analytics.
- 20% want help with cash management and forecasting
And a whopping 85% want their accountant to help them be proactive with technology for their business.
These results echo what we found last year in the future of the accounting profession study we partnered with Intuit on. One of our key findings was:
Successful accounting professionals will take on new roles as consultants and advisors, providing performance management, decision support, IT advice and similar services, with less emphasis on nuts-and-bolts functions such as computation and tax preparation.
It's clear from the Sleeter survey that small businesses are looking towards their accountants to move beyond providing just tax prep and bookkeeping and become trusted business advisors.
The accounting industry is an excellent case of study of what's happening to knowledge work in general. Automation is replacing humans in many routine and low level tasks.
But as with accounting, the growing complexities of the business world is resulting in new, higher level opportunities for knowledge-based services.
Knowledge professionals who can move up the value chain and provide these services will thrive.