It’s been quite a week for the accountancy profession. It’s been one in which (I hope) AdvanceTrack has played its part – and I hope some certainty has been provided to outsourcing as a critical part in the profession’s future.

The second week of May saw what were the first ‘unrestricted’ major events for accountants take place in the UK since Covid-19 struck.

We hosted our AdvanceTrack conference on 10 May, which then led into Accountex across 11 and 12 May.

Technology tends to ‘leap forward’, certainly when it comes to its use in professional services. And there are a number of reasons for that, but primarily it comes down to firms becoming ‘used’ to doing things in certain ways, for certain clients.

For the accountancy profession, change is iterative and focused on the client i.e. keeping up to date with the latest accounting and tax legislation and their impact. Every so often, the changes put in place are seismic enough to drive firms to change how they do things. The push for online tax filing over the past 20 years has seen paper-based returns (almost) a thing of the past.

More recently, disruption came in the form of the pandemic, which required us all to embrace digital communication beyond just emails.

The conferences held last week were enormous fun and also insightful. Meeting people face-to-face always is, even more so after such a long hiatus. The AdvanceTrack conference’s theme was about you, your team and your practice growing. Discussion about ‘value-added’ services was never far away.

MTD to advisory?

Accountex was very much of a similar vein, there was plenty of discussion around ‘how can I manage Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self-Assessment?’

I believe that growing your practice, while ‘dealing with MTD’ can be dealt with in similar ways. And that’s because the issues are similar. For advisory services, broadening your offering requires efficiencies and process – these in turn free up resource to get to know existing (or new) clients better – to have the conversations that open the door to new things.

MTD certainly isn’t as much ‘fun’ – or, it seems on the face of it that there’s not a lot of positives to be gleaned from many of your clients increasing the amount of reporting they have to undertake. Your people are not in a position to quadruple the amount of prepping and checking they can do. However, increasing the number of touchpoints with a client could well pay dividends longer-term if you can leverage that communication towards your service proposition.

Firms need to recruit both number-crunchers and those who can provide further analysis and ultimately higher-value services. For us at AdvanceTrack, we see our offering as critical in supporting practices – whether it’s gaining efficiencies or scaling up your service (both are interlinked).

Our tech and people enable firms to solve their recruitment woes, keep on top of new tech and processes, and ultimately providing the best client service. Don’t let the people war, or MTD, drag your practice down. Join the many others that are growing their offering by growing their links with us.

I’d be delighted to talk about what they’re doing and how you can do it too. Book a call. 

Vipul Sheth is founder and MD of AdvanceTrack Outsourcing

Conference season is fast-approaching… and that brings about a mix of emotions.

For some, it’s an exciting time to meet and greet, to find out about new technologies, and attend insightful sessions. It is a tiring time, too, and ‘conference fatigue’ can set in quite quickly.

While there were some events last year, they were very much within the context of Covid restrictions. This year feels like it will be the first conference season ‘proper’ since 2019.

I recently wrote a blog on why communication and strong relationships are absolutely vital to what we do at AdvanceTrack. It is therefore logical that myself and the team love to take the opportunities provided to meet people across at events time.

On 10 May we have our own annual conference, taking place at the National Gallery in London. We want you, your people and your practice to grow, and that will be the focus of discussions on the day. We’ve a host of speakers on board, including Paul Shrimpling, Matt Flanagan, and Aynsley Damery – while the major software platforms will also be represented.

Across 11-12 May we have the one and only Accountex. I’m really looking forward to discussing tech and outsourcing as ‘essential components of a great practice’, from the Accountants in Practice Theatre at 1600.

Then there’s Xerocon across 20-21 July, where we shall also be exhibiting.

Some people struggle to value the opportunity to attend such events. And, as I mentioned earlier, they can be very tiring – and chaotic.

Ultimately, it’s impossible to learn about new technology, understand how it will fit into your organisation, meet vendors and service providers, and sign on the dotted line, all in a day. Attending a conference gives you an opportunity to build some insight, network with people you haven’t seen for a while (if at all), and look into the whites of the eyes of vendors – perhaps you have a tough question to put to them, or need something clarifying about their proposition.

In others words, these events are stepping stones in a process, and should also be viewed as supporting your continuing professional development (and your practice’s development).

Whatever stage you are at in your thinking, we would love to see you and have a chat. I’m out and about at these conferences so there are plenty of chances to catch up.

We understand that, as practitioners, a huge part of your offering is around communication and insight – we’d love to share some of our thoughts and advice with you. See you there!