A Conversation with Steve Pipe on his latest research, the bad news in accounting – and doing something for the world

12 Sep 2019  |  
Tags: Outsourcing accounting

QX steve pipe_02 from QX Ltd on Vimeo.

There are questions accountants have been wanting to ask for years.

Even before the profession could recover from trends like ‘Making Tax Digital’ or automation to trim labour expenses – Brexit started to bring another huge wave of unpredictability.

This summer, Industry Expert Steve Pipe and QXAS teamed up to conduct a research to figure out ‘The State of the Accounting in the UK.’ The survey received 256 responses which uncovered shocking discoveries on the state of the profession and the uncertainties that grips accountants.

Steve and QXAS, meticulously, compiled the results into a new research called ‘The Really Bad News for Accountancy Practices and What to do About it.’ Email marketing@qxas.co.uk to request your copy.

In the light of Steve and QXAS’ upcoming webinar, we raised these burning concerns to Steve, to provide some answers to what almost every accountant has been wondering for the last few years.

Q.Why is the research important?
A.
I am a chartered accountant and I’m really proud to be an accountant. So, when QXAS approached me and asked “should we do some research together on the state of the profession?” I was very excited. We’ve found that many accountants aren’t as happy as they should be. Many accounting firms – 79 percent – aren’t performing as well as they should be – they’re making mistakes after mistakes, falling below the required standard. Now that’s what we found – and that has shaken me to my very core.

Q. The title of the research is ‘The Really Bad News for Accountancy Practices and What to do About it.’ So, how will the research help accountants?
A. The good news though is that the research didn’t just help identify the problems; it has also helped us figure out a solution. Really, that’s what we will be focusing on much more than the issues – the solutions, when we get together for the webinar.

We will be looking at the real world things that accountants can do in their accounting firms to make things better. It’s for the accountants, their firms, the reputation, the profitability, the standing of the profession and indeed – for the world.

Q. Where do you think the profession is heading?
A. I’m actually really excited about the future of the profession and where accounting is headed. I can see the profession stepping up into a new role. I can see it becoming more valuable than it was before, where we use our skills in numbers in better ways than we’ve done before to help our clients make better decisions so that they generate better results for their business, communities, societies, the economy and for the world – that’s where I see the profession going.

The great news is that the research is entirely consistent with that. We’ll look at precisely how accountants – you and I – can do that in the work that we do, all the time.

Q.You've been in the industry for a long time and you've seen it grow - how are things in accounting different now from the yesteryear?
A. Things are now very different from when I started as an accountant. I’m 58 years old and there have been phenomenal changes – clients are more demanding; technology is more enabling; the needs in the world are more pressing in economies and in societies.

That’s why I think there is this fantastic role, this fantastic future for accountants to step up and step into this new role to be more valuable. Actually, it’s incredibly simple to be more valuable, we just need the focus; a little bit of guidance; someone steering us in the right direction; and that’s what the research and what I’ll be sharing in the webinar will do for you. That way we can all move forward as a profession so that we can make things better for ourselves and for the world.

Q. Should accountants be worried?
A. I’m really passionate about accountants and accountancy. I’m an accountant; I’m married to an accountant; I have three adult children – one of them is training to be an accountant and the other two live with accountants. Basically, the future of my family depends on the success of this very profession. But I have absolutely no worries about that – because I know that when you and I use our skills with numbers in the sorts of ways that we are going to reveal in the webinar – the future of our profession and the future of our economies, societies is assured.

There’s never been a more exciting time to be an accountant but we have to address the issues that the research has uncovered. We must know the way to unlock the potential within.