Navigating change can be tough, especially in the middle of the storm. And the accounting industry in the UK is in the middle of one of the biggest storms we’ve ever seen. You could call it a perfect storm – but I suspect that depends on whether you leverage the opportunity or not.
We’re not talking about the longstanding if somewhat gentle shift towards more advisory services, it’s about an industry transforming beyond all recognition.
The scene of change
Let’s take stock of what’s ahead. Today we’ve got the present European Payment Services Directive in place, and now the sequel is in the mail – PSD2. This ushers in a deregulation of banking that puts small business finance at the centre.
Then there is the HMRC move to digitise tax and compliance. While the Making Tax Digital shift will now be more measured than originally planned by Whitehall, it remains a key consideration for the time ahead. And of course, Brexit. Just how will Brexit affect SMBs all over the UK who just want to maintain business as usual, or strike out on a newly forming global marketplace.
And finally let’s not forget the huge European general data protection rights that will come into effect in May 2018. The General Data Protection Regulation act (GDPR) will take existing government rules and regulations around the management of personal information and data, and magnify this beyond anything we have ever experienced.
Knowing how to navigate
In the face of all of the regulatory change coming down the line, mixed with shifts already impacting accounting across the world, small businesses will look to accountants and bookkeepers for advice, now more than ever.
They need to learn how to navigate these changes – not in five years time, but now. Not all business owners are experts in payment directives and data protection regulations; they just need to continue to trade. It all equates to a unique opportunity to offer steady counsel when it’s needed most; to reassess what you want to be accountable for, beyond traditional accounting.
It’s about more than the cloud
We already know that keeping pace with transformation simply won’t be possible unless your clients are connected to a cloud platform to enable continuous change. That digital reality is a given, and the conversation has moved forward.
Xerocon London will pick up the conversation here, and I’ll talk more about some of the opportunities that lie ahead in my keynote on Day One. As a conference that’s been framed in the face of our specific challenges, we’ll also explore the relevance of our product enhancements, Richard Susskind OBE will share his take on the future of accounting, and Rod Drury, our CEO and co-founder, will explain why the future is nothing like we are experiencing today. (But to give you a teaser: a If you’re an advisor and you’re doing the same job in 10 years, you’ve missed the boat.)
Seek out what you need next
So as these changes roll in, I encourage you to take some time out to think forward and form an action plan for the months ahead. What do you need to know next? How can your firm springboard off the things we’re doing with our latest global product developments at Xero?
Go along, ask questions – and get amongst it. Think of it like this: you could batten down the hatches in an attempt to weather the storm, or you can go find the deepest puddles in which you make your splash.
Xerocon London will be at ExCeL London, 4-5 October. Register for tickets today.