At the recent NARF (Norwegian Association of Authorized Accountants) annual general meeting, Managing Director Sandra Riise unveiled their new ‘’Regnskap Norge’’ (Accounting Norway) brand. But what does this have to do with the future of the accounting profession?
As the membership organization representing the accounting profession in Norway, Regnskap Norge helps steer the direction of member firms. While their focus is the industry in Norway, many of the challenges and opportunities they face apply worldwide.
‘’Modernization & Automation’’
At a top level, Regnskap Norge’s strategy reflects their belief that traditional accounting services are in danger of becoming commoditized and that the role of the accountant must evolve to meet these changes.
‘’Modernization’’ and ‘’automation’’ were mentioned by Riise as important themes for the accounting industry. Clearly, there remains a need for audit and other traditional accounting services, but with changes in technology, more demanding clients and generally tighter margins, if the accounting profession is to continue thriving, it must adapt and find new business models to compensate for declining profits from traditional services.
While this conversation is not new to the industry, Regnskap Norge believe these changes are so profound and central to their strategy that they re-branded the organization to help position the industry and their members to reflect the changing role of accountants.
New business models present opportunities for accountants
Accountants possess knowledge, experience and skills that are often lacking in their clients, particularly SMBs. For this reason, Regnskap Norge are positioning the profession as business advisors to their clients – and to continue delivering value through new services as well as their traditional services.
Research carried out by Regnskap Norge clearly shows that SMB clients want their accountants to provide a wider range of business services, but are often unsure what they can offer. This is a big opportunity for accounting firms to create new revenue streams and build stronger ties to their clients. For example, in Norway, the provision of HR and Personnel related services is the fastest growing area among accounting firms.
Technology = Enabler
Some accounting firms have built successful business lines reselling software and providing IT services, but this is the exception. Reselling software and technology is not their core business, nor should it be. Accountants have great expertise to offer their clients, and technology is simply an enabler to make a business more productive.
What is unavoidable, however, is the need for accountants to be more efficient in their own practice as well as helping clients improve efficiency in their operations.
Our integration tools have been designed to complement the way accounting firms already operate, by automating day-to-day processes that take up valuable time yet contribute little value to the practice and their clients.
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