The ‘Firm of the Future’. It’s a term that’s being rammed down the accounting sector’s throat at the minute. But what does it actually mean? Well, here’s my satirical guide to understanding the lingo so that you too, can futureproof your practice. If you can think of any that I’ve missed, feel free to add your own in the comments.
The robots are coming! And by robots we mean an increasing amount of clunky systems, that make accounting twice as difficult as it was in the 80’s.
The process by which technology gradually takes over your job, which you allow, because you never liked being an accountant anyway, and there’s a slight chance that your wife might actually let you become a country and western singer, just like you’ve always wanted.
A term used by some of the new accounting platforms that you bought subscriptions to, simply because they told you that their algorithms use ‘big data’ and you didn’t want to admit that you had absolutely no idea what it meant. Rule #107 from the ‘Running an Accountancy Practice’ Handbook: If in danger of looking stupid, give them money and figure it out later.
If legends are true, this means keeping all your financial data in a magical place in the sky, where tax returns float around in the shape of dragons, and balance sheets are checked over by tiny elves. In reality, it’s having your data stored on someone else’s server. Not quite as exciting, is it?
Using Xero. Or so Xero will tell you.
The act of prioritising the success of the customer. Or in other words, treating those who pay you the most, better.
The feeling that flows through the veins of all accountants running a ‘firm of the future’. It makes them wear flannel shirts, drink caramel-frappe-lappe-lattes and use words like ‘innovative’, ‘disruptive’ and ‘trusted advisor’ in every sentence.
Financial Year End
Also known as ‘squeaky bum time’. The period where you and other accountants run around in circles shouting, “Barbara, why aren’t Fabulous Florist’s accounts on the new system? What the f*ck do you mean they’re still paper based? Get them to email it over. They don’t have email? Sorry? They’ve sent it by pigeon?”
Firm of the Future
A space-age accountancy practice populated by entrepreneurs, trailblazers, technology champions and taxologists, garbed in skinny jeans and Xerocon t-shirts, and saying things like, “As your trusted advisor, we’re going to move you to our new, automated, artificially intelligent, cloud-based, big data platform, which will actually save you time and money, using our value pricing model.”
Making Tax Digital
Adopting Xero, Quickbooks, Futrli and Spotlight before making a brew, looking adoringly over your new systems, and thinking, “Now, how do you turn this computer on?”
Social Media Strategy
The point where your firm finally decides to create a Facebook page to post a cripplingly boring blog article once a month that grabs a single ‘like’ from Jimmy, the bookkeeping apprentice you bullied into following your page.
Like a mixologist mixing cocktails, a taxologist blends accountancy and tech to make the mojito of the tax industry. They then drink that mojito, and make up stupid job titles.
The bloke with absolutely no tech experience that you handed the reigns of the new platform rollout to, and you called a ‘champion’ because placating staff with a new, fancy title is always better than a pay rise.
A member of staff who backs the managing partner’s ideas, whether they’re awesome or absolutely pants. Can often be seen walking off cliffs or jumping into fires because their boss joked that it would be ‘innovative’.
The crème de la crème of titles. For accountants or tax professionals in a firm of the future, being considered a trusted advisor by a client is the equivalent of being knighted. Rumour has it that if you say, ‘trusted advisor’ three times in the mirror, the devil will take your soul in return for a lifetime membership to the Xero partner programme.
Moving from an hourly rate to a value pricing model is simple. Each time a new client comes through your door and gives you his or her requirements, you lick the tip of your finger, stick it in the air, and pull a figure out of your arse.
A new religion. To join, you must denounce all false accountancy Gods in favour of the one true God, Xero, and vow to convert all clients to the faith, else be damned to accountancy hell, where balance sheets never add up, and expense claims are made up of illegible, handwritten receipts.
If you enjoyed this read, check out, ‘The World’s Weirdest Tax Rules‘.