Accounting industry - innovation-friendly or not?
When you think of innovative industries, I guess you wouldn't think first of the accounting industry. In this week's CEO blog, I'll look at how innovative is the accounting industry and what is staying in the way of even more innovation.
Accounting professional associations, the driver of the industry
Accounting professional associations such as AICPA in the US with more than 400'000 members and Swiss Union of Fiduciaries in Switzerland provide continuing learning and detailed reports about specific industry topics.
Innovation and digitalization have always been a tough topic in accounting. When put in place, these would destroy some of the manual tasks done by the industry and open new opportunities for services. It would ask accountants and auditors to let repetitive simple tasks to computers and build new services to support and help entrepreneurs be more effective.
This asks for each fiduciary and auditor something which is hard and takes time: change. Being open to change and learn new skills to adapt is a challenge but a challenge that needs to be taken.
Professional associations support their members and show them that change is coming and that by embracing it, new opportunities arise for the one taking it.
The Swiss Union of fiduciaries created a specific institute to tackle the digitalization changes which come: Institut fiduciaire 4.0
Definition found on the webpage of the Institut fiduciaire 4.0 (official in French - translated by us)
"The fiduciary branch is undergoing a major transformation. Digital transformation has arrived and represents an additional challenge for trustees. There is currently great uncertainty because there is no overall view of the practical impact that this technological development is likely to have on the trust sector. The Fiduciary Institute 4.0 has set itself the objective of supporting the members of FIDUCIAIRE|SUISSE precisely on this point and of arming them as well as possible for the digital transformation, as well as accompanying them throughout this one."
Official website Institut Fiduciaire 4.0 of the Swiss Fiduciairy Association
A strong focus is put also internationally on the digitalization of fiduciaries. AICPA, the American Institute of CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) with CPA.com, launched last year a startup accelerator to help and support innovative startups in the accounting industry grow faster. At the same time, making sure that their association members are exposed to the technological shift which is coming.
In the Accounting space, the accelerator is looking for startup, and I quote the website:
"Practical tools and applications that further strengthen the ability of individual accountants or finance teams to be the analysts, strategists, and consultants that are indispensable to organizations throughout the world. In particular, help accountants and the profession shift their focus more on value-add work rather than routine tasks.
Examples may include but are not limited to:
Automating routine accounting tasks
Leveraging augmented or artificial intelligence
Establishing a dominant role in blockchain data and information sharing within and between industries"
AICPA accelerator website
After a call with Mark, the manager of the accelerator program, EZYcount is applying for the AICPA accelerator and see a strong fit between its vision and plan with the requirements of the program. Leveraging the association to develop and grow faster is a tremendous opportunity.
Selection is done in December and the list of the accepted startup is published in January. I'll let you know as soon as we know the results if we are part of the 2018 AICPA accelerator.
Change is coming and professional accounting and fiduciary associations are embracing the change. Accounting is an innovative space where AI and blockchain can be leveraged to create the future of tomorrow without manual tasks.
What is your take about the accounting industry? Innovative or not and why?
I'm looking forward to your comments!
Have a great week
Vivien, CEO EZYcount