Much has been said about the arrival of automation and its impact upon Accountants.  The consistent theme is less time needed for routine tasks and more time available for ‘value adding’ analysis.

For Finance Professionals in larger organisations this will be an opportunity to get teeth stuck into the data within the business and provide a greater level of insight.

The small matter of the economy

But what of the Accountant in Practice?  It is vital to the economy that they can do the same.  This is because most of their clients are to be found amongst the UK’s 5.7M SMEs, which in turn comprise 99% of the UK’s businesses.

Just think of the benefit if each Accountant could help lift productivity within each of their clients by a few percent.

But they have challenges that their colleagues in larger organisations may not have to worry about. E.g.

  • The client may only have accounting data to hand.  If they have more, they must be able and willing to make it available.
  • The client will also need to make more time available, something they may be reluctant to do if it detracts from running the business.
  • The Accountant must then be equipped to provide the insights needed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

These can all be addressed through a mix of training and technology.

For example, imagine a care home looking after elderly residents, with different levels of care provided depending upon frailty and conditions such as dementia.

As demand for care increases the home needs more funding.  But to qualify, they must provide detailed information about the actual costs of care.

Equipped with the right templates their Accountant can show the staff how to collect the statistics and measures needed.  They can guide staff to relevant data within payroll and care administration systems.  And they can make efficient work of combining sets of data to produce a clear and granular set of service costs, along with cost projections into the future.

If care home staff are clear about the benefits to be gained from dedicating time to the task, they will be willing and able to perform the leg work required.

Bring on the trainer

It’s the training that matters most.

We are part of the BPP professional development programme for Finance Professionals.  We are preparing courses for Accountants in Practice to equip them to help businesses exactly like the care home above.

We believe the training needed is about becoming better at ‘commercial’ practices.  This is the art and science of gathering and using data for a sharper competitive edge, greater capacity, and a stronger bottom line.

But are we right?

Here is the question.

If you are an Accountant in Practice, and you want to equip your clients with the sort of information illustrated above, what would the title of your ideal training programme be?  And what would you like to be better able to do as a result?

If robotics will make time available for better things, that has to be good.  But only if Accountants are equipped accordingly.

So, please let us know using the comments on LinkedIn.  The more we understand of the world of the Accountant in Practice, the better the training courses will be.


Paul Clarke


Develin Consulting