This morning I presented (via video link) to 23 executives of the Australian Taxation Office. All 23 are high powered decision makers who where wondering about my views on the Accounting profession and that of their Entrepreneurial clients.
They were particularly interested in my thoughts on the impact of cloud computing. I had 4 main points to make;
- Cloud technology – how it is a major friend to the business community and both friend and foe to the Accounting profession. They like this idea and although they asked some pretty inane questions they know it is inevitable.
- Globalisation – how access to labour in developing countries is helping businesses but not helping the tax department for revenue. They seemed a bit ambivalent about this one. No questions asked at all. Bizarre.
- Hyper growth – how many entrepreneurs are growing and want to grow yet government agencies are not supporting the growth. In fact the opposite is happening by incurring taxes (payroll tax) on us for hiring people and making it difficult to access grants – or the grants are drying up. The government want us to pay more tax yet are not helping us do so. I had a go at them about supporting foreign companies with massive subsidies (like the car industry that is not owned locally) and not supporting small business. They agreed but I don’t think they know how to do anything about it.
- Simplification of tax and red tape – I had a whinge about the volume of paperwork and poor service we receive when we interact with the ATO. They agreed.
Most of the time was spent on item # 1. We had a robust discussion around security, why cloud makes things more efficient and the appetite for businesses owners to do ‘one click lodgement’ (that was my term BTW.) This task force has been set up to improve dramatically the ‘service’ provided to the customer (us in Business) and to simplify the data transfer.
What was really exciting was the discussion about a standard ‘chart of accounts’ for industry types and ‘standard business reporting’ for all businesses. Basically what the ATO are talking about is enabling businesses to use cloud technology and link real time with the tax department when ever we want to lodge it. I said we should pay tax like wages – every 2 weeks. Better on everyone’s cashflow! This is on their agenda.
What ‘one click lodgement’ means is that businesses will bypass the Accountant for this service. It’s going to happen. Is the profession ready for this? More reason to add value, add value, add value. Compliance is commodotised and soon the intermediary Accountant / book keeper will be bypassed as we go straight to the ATO.
Great for business. Not great for Accountants.
Over the past 20 years I (and my colleague Colin Dunn) have been involved in creating, marketing and selling approx. $170M of information products. There have been a range of delivery formats – group coaching, seminar, conference, group phone coaching, in a box, online, software, webinar etc. Here is a checklist we go through every time. You might find it useful.
- What do we know?
- What markets would buy it?
- How are we going to package it?
- What technology do we need to create/deliver/support it?
- How are we going to market the products?
- How are we going to sell the products?
- How are we going to deliver products?
- How are we going to support products?
We’re running a 2 day high end product development symposium on Hamilton Island. December 5&6 2013. It’s going to answer all these questions and show you exactly how to do it. Let me know if you’re interested. Send to email@example.com
I often wonder what Partners of Accounting firms do all day. Sure they are busy – but are they effective? Accountants are good at time sheets so why not keep one for a couple of weeks on exactly where you spend your time. Once the log starts repeating itself stop keeping the log. Then go through an highlight the single ‘highest dollar productive’ activity over the past couple of weeks. Then highlight the 2nd highest then the 3rd. Stop at 3.
When you’re done I will bet that the best use of your time is something like:
- Doing high end advisory work – not compliance but value added work based on value based fees work
- Sales meetings with existing or prospective clients
- Leadership – driving performance or coming up with new ideas (reading this blog and implementing counts BTW)
Everything else is not a good use of time. The highest performing firms do not let Partners do anything else but these 3. How are you spending your time?