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Status Quo – Great rock band, but why are so many mid-sized accountancy practices reluctant to challenge it?

Status Quo – Great rock band, but why are so many mid-sized accountancy practices reluctant to challenge it?

One of biggest challenges in business these days is associated with getting organisations to change the way they operate. This is particularly true of some mid-sized accountancy practices.

As someone who is passionate about promoting the virtues of outsourcing to the accountancy profession - I often get frustrated after having identified a problem and laid out an effective solution, when my proposals are greeted with scepticism or indifference.

Whilst nobody likes change, I do feel that part of the problem rests with the way professional partnerships are managed.

I recently met a 7-partner firm of Chartered Accountants who operate without a managing partner, resulting in no one person taking responsibility for its direction and control. Whilst I accept that consensus management can work, to be effective the group must have a strong conviction to the mission, goals and future of the organisation. Based on my experience as a partner in a top 50 firm, sadly this is not always present.

In the book the Future of the Professions the authors Richard & Daniel Susskind suggest there is a strong sense amongst industry leaders engaged in long-term thinking - that the way the professions are currently organised is fast approaching the end of an era.

They suggest that technology will continue to transform the work of professionals. The tax profession is said to be at particularly risk, with commentators suggesting that only 1% of tax preparation work is safe from automation.

It is also predicted we will continue to see a growth in the use of labour arbitrage. The transference of jobs and routine tasks to similarly or better qualified individuals who do the work at a much reduced cost compared with professionals employed in expensive offices in countries where wage costs are high.

Did you know that Deloitte employ 10,000 in India to undertake routine tax work? If labour arbitrage makes commercial sense for one of the largest accountancy businesses in the world, then why is the mid-market so slow to take advantage of the concept?

If your practice wants better quality, lower costs, or greater efficiency, then at least one of your partners/directors has to be prepared to challenge the status quo by adopting the following three-stage approach to change management.

It is often said that accountants are risk averse - if this is true, then I should warn you that the riskiest thing you can do in your practice is to continue with the status quo.

How is your firm adapting to the changing business environment? Share your tips and comments with me on Twitter or talk to Parth Prajapati to find out how you can work with QX to create a new business model for your firm. Email And don’t forget to share this article with those you think can benefit too.  

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