The “digital age” has been one thrilling tech ride from innovation to innovation: PCs, the Internet, mobile devices, VR and AI. The speed of and depth with which these have transformed the way we live, and work is astounding. And yet, we still ask – what’s next?
“The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed” – speculative fiction writer, William Gibson wasn’t speaking about the current status of the tax and accounting profession, but his words could well apply. We are in a time where manual processes and spreadsheets sit alongside smart-documents, automated software integrations, where clients expect to hear and see more of their accountants not in person, but through regular newsletters and social media.
At the World Congress of Accountants in November, Thomson Reuters will be facilitating a workshop exploring these very questions. Join Alan Fitzgerald, tax and accounting software specialist and James Evangelidis, author and professional services consultant for our workshop: How is the changing digital landscape impacting your business?
Blockchain. Social Media. Are these just buzzwords, or is there substance beyond the hype?
James Evangelidis believes so, “some say that Blockchain technology has the potential to impact business and society as much as the Internet.”
Funnily enough, the origins of blockchain lie in accounting practices. The technology is based on an auditable record of financial transactions. As a distributed, decentralised ledger, blockchain permits information to be viewed but not copied or altered.
Already embraced by the procurement, legal, finance, and property sectors, blockchain is the basis for a variety of new products, including platforms which revolutionise cross-border shipping platforms, peer-to-peer solar trading and the ASX’s post-CHESS project, which amongst other things will settle equity trades almost instantaneously.
But the greatest gift blockchain can give tax and accounting is data transparency: traceable audit trails, automated audit processes,transaction authentication, tracking asset ownership, development of “smart contracts” – in all, an auditor’s dream and something which accounting professionals, Evangelidis notes, “can’t afford to miss knowing more about this game-changing technology.”
On the marketing and customer engagement front, digital communication platforms, such as social media, can be a powerful means to build stronger client relationships and grow your own business. Customers want to be able to work flexibly, many using their mobile phones and tablets to conduct their business. They expect their advisors to support this, by regularly engaging with them on tips and strategies to help them improve their financial position in business and protect their assets in their personal lives.
As Alan Fitzgerald observes, “the challenge is that the pace of change is evolving so quickly, if you are a small firm and you’re not investing in your business, don’t worry about bigger firms taking your clients: be worried about smaller firms that have evolved – they are the ones that will take your clients.”
Alan cautions that accountants can’t afford to be in a position where,“you wake up one day asking, “What happened?” Get in front of change by discovering more about the probable effects of digital technology on the global accounting profession, in our informative and interactive workshop.
These are just some of the topics which we look forward to discussing with you at the World Congress. Until then, visit our website for more on what solutions Thomson Reuters has to offer tax professionals navigate the digital landscape. An don’t forget to sign up to our blog and follow us on social media for the latest news on the World Congress and more.