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We live in changing times...

In his latest column, IMS President Neil Strong shares his personal take on the dawning of the digital revolution…

It is widely anticipated that we are facing the next industrial revolution; the digital revolution… But what is it and are you ready for it?

Hardly a day seems to go by without the effect of digital transformation being mentioned in the media, and with so many articles predicting its effect on the accountancy industry it’s hard to ignore!

What is it?

It can mean many things to many people, but from and accountancy perspective it seems that a lot of heavy process work will largely become automated (if it hasn’t been already). Obviously, this will have an effect on jobs and the amount of labour needed to, for example, prepare a tax return. It may also mean that people with simple affairs will not need an accountant at all, as they will be able to do everything they need through on app on their phone.

This represents both a cost and an opportunity (or you might say the “double entry”). A clear cost would be a reduction in the availability of process driven jobs and some of the basic accountancy practices, which are a great place to learn. However, opportunities might be more engaged clients, the potential for reduced costs and more clients seeking good advice. It’s clearly difficult to predict the future, but some common accountancy related phrases you’ll hear at the moment include the following:

Are you ready?

In this fast paced environment it’s difficult to say “yes we’re 100% ready!” (although I’m not sure anyone actually can) but I think it’s really about keeping up to date, doing what is right for your business, employer or practice, and taking advantage of the opportunities that new technology presents.

Gaining a good understanding of the current technology, how it will potentially affect you, and then developing strategies to deal with the potential disruption seems to me like a great place to start.