Over on our sister site JD-OD.com, we have posted a slew of videos that I shot at Xero's Melbourne offices where I concentrate on the experience of professional partners. In this first excerpt, we look at what Hansens are doing.
...accounting graduates today are effectively saying that they want to be business analysts. They want to have people contact with clients, they want to have genuine positive impact on their clients’ business. As for crunching numbers, they want to utilize tools that create efficiencies. The new tools also provide real-time data visibility, which allows for a new kind of client relationship. And yes, they want the job to be fun – and sexy.
To put this into perspective, my interviewee Lisa Stribley was third on deck. By that stage I was getting the sense that there is a sea change going on in the business of professional accounting. However, as we will see in other videos, there are some pre-requisites:
- Change is not a given. Firms creating the 'new' profession cannot avoid the pain of change management.
- Making the change requires firm leadership.
- Understanding what the 'new' means listening carefully to how the new generation of professionals see the digital world. It is fundamentally different to those of my generation who grew into technology rather than being born into it.
In the UK, we still see significant resistance to change:
The sense of incumbency and attendant frustration they experience is palpable. One partner said: ‘Some of these firms have five people here. We’ve got me.’ I can only listen and hope that they are able to make change in the full knowledge that it is an uphill struggle.
The upside is extraordinary. In common with other professionals I have met, each of the firms that form this series are experiencing mid-double digit growth. They are becoming part of the emerging frictionless economy that my colleague Phil Wainewright is cataloging.
:39 Accountants don’t want to be accountants anymore
1:41 Today’s accountants would rather be perceived as business analysts
2:27 How real-time accounting tools enable closer relationships with clients