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The End of an Era for Accounting Practices

Accounting practices, as they are currently organised and operate, is coming to the end of an era – in the type of work they do, how they do the work, how they deliver the service, and how they are valued and paid. Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind in their book ‘The Future of the Professions’ argue that we are advancing into a post-professional society.

The end of the professional era is characterised by three trends:

  1. The move from bespoke service – bespoke ‘made to measure’ accounting work is fading from prominence, as other crafts (like tailoring and soap making) have done over the centuries. Ninety five percent of accountants’ professional work is now systemised with standard forms, checklists, and processes.
  2. The bypassing of traditional gatekeepers – many clients no longer come to accountants for expert advice. Instead, they access this advice themselves for free on the internet.
  3. The more for less challenge – both individual and business clients are putting accounting practices under immense pressure to reduce their fees. The market is driving down accounting practice fees for the majority of their services and practices just don’t know how to respond. They need to find ways of delivering more professional service at less cost.
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