Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Future of Accounting: How to Thrive in a Post-Compliance World

Sholto MacPherson for Box Free IT writes: The humble tax return has long been a mainstay for many accounting firms. After all, everyone has to pay their taxes. But tax returns aren’t likely to remain a regular source of revenue and leads. The times are changing fast.
The Australian Taxation Office has pledged to automate 4.5 million tax returns for individuals, starting with the first 1 million in 2014. Employees in the PAYG system rarely have many changes to make at year’s end.
In a recent speech ATO commissioner Scott Leeper gave an indication of where compliance in Australia is headed. “Scandinavian countries such as Denmark and Norway send nearly three quarters of tax returns to the taxpayer, and in Norway since 2008 there is silent acceptance – if you do not respond, the tax return is treated as final,” Leeper said.
Company returns are also becoming easier and faster to complete thanks to pre-fill features in cloud accounting software and the federal government initiative to digitise tax returns and other forms.
And the growing trend of outsourcing data entry and accounting services to South East Asia and India is picking up pace. Cloud accounting software makes it simple for an accountant anywhere in the world to log on and reconcile accounts.
Where does this leave accounting firms for whom compliance is their primary source of revenue? How can they change their businesses to be more efficient at processing returns? Where will accountants find replacement revenue streams?
These tough questions will be debated at the inaugural Future of Accounting forum, a panel discussion presented by BoxFreeIT in conjunction with the Institute of Public Accountants and sponsored by Reckon and Saasu.
The made-for-broadcast event will take place on Wednesday 2 April from 8.10am to 11am on the 26th floor of the AMP building in Circular Quay, Sydney and streamed online for those outside the Sydney CBD.
On the panel you will hear:
  • Imminent threats to accounting firms and the greatest opportunities from IPA CEO Andrew Conway
  • Competing philosophies for future accounting business models from Reckon strategic director Dan Rabie and Saasu CEO Marc Lehmann
  • Detailed descriptions from two leading Reckon and Saasu accountants about how they streamlined their tax business and shifted into more lucrative services
There will also an be opportunity for questions from the audience. If you want to stay in business in 2014 and beyond you can’t afford to miss out.

About the author:  Sholto Macpherson is a business technology journalist specialising in cloud software. He lives and works in Sydney, Australia, you can read him @ BoxFreeIT here.