Ask the expert: Road to digital transformation

Featuring Guy Pearson, founder & CEO, Practice Ignition

Q What is the biggest challenge you see within the accounting profession today?

A Rapid change. For starters, the pandemic forced firms to start moving online and serve clients digitally. The fast action these firms took was phenomenal, but now they've got a new challenge — completing the transition to operate on a fully digital, scalable level. The great news? With this transition to a digital model, geography is now irrelevant, as firms have the freedom to work with clients far beyond their backyard. Clients can access data and services from any device, anywhere, at any time. So these firms are motivated to see the changes through.

Q What's the biggest opportunity for 2022?

A Capitalizing on new, powerful dimensions of business growth, like scalable advisory services. For example, firms that have gone digital have found they can offer a far more enhanced, impactful client experience. They better understand their clients' data and have created proven forecasts and developed cash flow models. So coaching and advising clients is the next, natural high-value offering. As we know from the Business Model Trends for Accounting Advisory Services report by CPA.com, adding strategic advisory services to tax services can increase monthly revenues by 48.6%. Without a doubt, advisory services is a game-changer, particularly for those proactive, client-centric firms that adhere to the entrepreneurial mindset.

Q What's your vision for the future?

A My vision is an industry of accounting professionals operating through a high-value, automated end-to-end system that supports the bottom line of firms and their clients alike. Firms deliver a seamless, excellent client experience by leveraging state-of-the-art, yet affordable technology, which drives everything from generating sales leads to marketing, proposals, engagement, contracting, and a host of customized accounting and advisory services. No mundane, repetitive tasks. No scope creep. No outstanding accounts receivable. No questions about what's offered and delivered. It's all transparent, efficient, and valuable. People will love their jobs, and their clients will experience real results.

Q Any tips on how to get started?

A Change is hard, we get that. The first place to start is to understand your current processes from end to end and identify what pain points you want to tackle first. This may be a manual process, but it will surface needs (and even wishes) that can be solved with technology. If your sales, client engagement, and payment process is still manual, starting your digital transformation will provide a better client experience and automate the manual tasks like sending proposals and engagement letters or invoicing your clients. This will help you sell your services better and show your clients that you are ready to serve them.

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Practice Ignition is the world's first client engagement and commerce platform for professional services businesses that transforms the way they engage clients and get paid. Thousands of accountants and bookkeepers use Practice Ignition to help them grow, be more efficient, and create win-win client relationships. Practice Ignition supports over 300,000 engagements worth over $1 billion globally with offices located in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

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