Accounting Today just came out with their accounting Wailing Wall – the annual list of what worries accountants most .
Top concerns this year are Blockchain, artificial intelligence, and automation.
No doubt CPAs are wise to monitor these developments, because they will certainly impact the profession (although it’s difficult to predict how soon and to what degree).
But at least these perils are perils we can see.
Let me tell you about another threat that’s arguably even bigger. Except you can’t see it.
Or, more precisely, CPAs are choosing not to see it.
The danger I’m referring to comes from other professionals – financial advisors, bookkeepers, insurance execs, stock brokers, even attorneys – encroaching into territory formerly controlled by accountants.
Remember when the tax return was the exclusive domain of accountants? That train has left the station, never to return.
Happy Tax founder Mario Costanz has ingeniously separated the selling of accounting services from the doing of accounting services. As a result, Happy Tax clients have their returns done by American-based CPAs while the franchise owners are advertising execs, real estate agents, car insurance agencies, attorneys – anyone who’s comfortable with sales or already has a pool of clients they’re consulting with.
Andrew Argue is coaching bookkeepers and enrolled agents how to earn six figures a month. The secret to high fees, he teaches, is being more of an advisor/consultant and less of a number cruncher.
And here at HaydenRock, our fastest growing market is not accountants and CPAs.
It’s financial advisors.
Temperamentally, financial advisors are the opposite of CPAs. They evaluate quickly, enroll quickly, and start implementing quickly – qualities that give them an advantage in the marketplace.
Also, they’re entrepreneurs and business owners first, and technicians second. They realize that number crunching and compliance work can be outsourced. (Some even include tax returns at no charge as part of their overall service offering.)
Where these advisors focus instead is on solving problems and adding value. Exactly what business owners crave most.
Three out of four business owners who change accountants do so out of frustration: they’re looking for proactive advice and ideas, and they’re not getting it from their accountant. So they’re turning to other professionals.
Accounting Today quotes Joey Havens, executive partner at Top 50 firm HORNE, who declares, “The most important issue currently facing the profession is being innovative enough to put today’s historical CPA firm out of business.”
If CPAs aren’t up to the challenge, I know some financial advisors who are.