We know that technology is automating compliance accounts production at an ever increasing rate.
Does that mean that accountants are automatically going to go out of business? No.
This is simply a time to repurpose those skills with numbers.
Let’s take a look at a very different industry at a very different time.
Until the 19th century if you were an artist, you were in very high demand.
The only way you could preserve an image of your baby, children, family, grandma was by commissioning an artist to paint or draw a picture for you.
If you wanted to brighten the house with a nice picture of the landscape you’d buy one from an artist or commission one.
There were a great many artists, all paid to paint like-for-like – exactly as you see it.
The invention of the camera was seen as a huge threat to most of those artists.
Price wise, it was still expensive to approach a photographer who had invested in a camera and it’s related equipment. But in those early days it was better to pay a premium and stand still for a minute or two than to stay still for hours for an artist.
The typical artist, who painted and drew like-for-like images felt that their career in artistry was over. Their regular income depleted and many retired or found alternative work literally wasting their skills.
Innovate and become liberated
However, about a 3rd of those artists saw the opportunity to become truly liberated.
Finally they were free to express themselves. It was so limiting to paint like-for-like to them. They wanted to do more.
This was the birth of Impressionism. Artists were painting images in very different ways. Ways that portrayed how what they were painting made them feel.
And the people who bought those painting felt the same way. They were moved not by the accuracy of the painting but by the way the painting made them feel.
Each artist differentiated themselves by expressing their personality, their individuality in their paintings.
No longer were all artists the same. Pricing competitively, undercutting each other to effectively produce the same thing. Each produced work that would only appeal to a minority – their ideal client. The ones who ‘got it’. This meant that their work was better appreciated by those few, rather than trying to please the masses. Better appreciated, better valued, better income.
It’s time now for accountants to do the same.
Not all accountants will ‘let go’ of producing compliance work – the equivalent of the like-for-like paintings – that some accountants see as mundane.
Many though are allowing the technology to liberate them from producing that work and they’re using the outcome, the produced compliance work to breath life into the numbers, taking time to talk to their clients in more detail about those numbers, asking them great questions and providing their interpretation of the numbers to their clients about what those numbers mean and how different the business would be if those numbers were different even by just small amounts.
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