Accountancy firms can be found to be resistant to adopt new technology that possess automated software for fear of a loss of jobs. However, firms seem to overlook that the value of such technology is in assisting with manual tasks so accountants can focus on offering advisory services for clients.
In this interview with Pamela Phillips - Co-founder of de Jong Phillips Ltd, she debunks the myth that automation will make an accountant lose their job and shares her thoughts on emerging trends in the industry.
de Jong Phillips Ltd is a tech-focused accountancy firm with a commercial mindset, specialising in helping agencies scale and thrive. The team at de Jong Phillips Ltd are focused on making your agency more efficient and profitable whilst understanding your numbers so that your business can grow.
With numerous accountancy firms in the market, what steps do you take to stand out from the crowd?
What separates us from our competitors is we look wider than the numbers. We’ll do things like go spend the day with clients and talk about their whole business. We look at our client’s business holistically, coach them how to scale, and focus on what they need to do. So whether that’s putting in systems or putting in plans, and incentivising their staff so they’re pulling in the same direction.
How often do you evaluate the software you use?
We review our technology on an ongoing basis. Because we’re focused on agencies, it’s possible for us to keep our eyes open to what new technology is coming out. If we had a wider portfolio of clients, we wouldn’t be able to keep up. We’ve got the core systems we use, but we always keep our eyes open generally to what’s coming out. It’s continuous. That’s fundamental to what we do. We’ve got a good network of peers so we learn a lot from other accountancy practices about noteworthy softwares.
How do you feel about automated features in new technology?
We’re extremely pro automation. We’re always looking for ways to make ourselves and our clients more efficient. If we can automate stuff, then it frees up time for us. It’s not like the works going to run out, there’s plenty of stuff to do that isn’t automated, or isn’t automated yet. I’m all for automation. A massive part of what we do for our clients is looking at what they’re currently doing and thinking about how we can add value to their businesses through introducing automation into their processes.
Has automation helped you in any way?
Automation enables you to do the other stuff which I personally love, which is working with the client, understanding the business, and being much more commercial. Automation gives you more time to invest into the planning, analysis and decision making side of things for each client.
Have you noticed any emerging trends within the accounting industry recently?
We’re finding that more and more people want accountants that have a good handle on their industry. They’re also actually wanting more help in becoming more automated, they want to know what technology they should be on, but they also want us to provide advice so we can help benchmark them with their peers.
Has COVID-19 affected your ability to provide services in any way?
COVID-19 wasn’t a big deal for us in terms of working from home, because we had capable technology in place that could easily accommodate for that. In some ways it’s been quite positive because it’s made some clients realise they are ahead of the game themselves because they’ve been pushed to be ahead of the game by us.