Buy, Sell, Merge
Accounting firms have more than its fair share of baby boomers with the obvious consequence that there is a significant surge of ownership and succession planning activity over the past 5 years and over the next 5 years as well. This phenomena has brought forward a crucial question for firms in the UK especially because there is a strong bull market to acquire firms from various consolidators and interested parties looking to access the accounting profession. The strategic discussion within independent firms who are thinking of succession planning, is when do I implement my succession plan? Especially as there is an obvious point that the bull market will become a bear market. 2020’s own research indicates that this will happen within 3 years.
Technology Leaps Forward
Increasingly 2020 members are asking what their tech stack should look like. Our discussions with the key technology companies would indicate that there is no one size fits all tech stack, especially as we are all made differently. That said, the biggest strategic debate we are hearing is whether there is a long term future (indeed, a short term future!) in housing desktop software such as CCH, Digita, Sage and Iris who are all offering solutions for practice management, accounts production, corporation tax, billing etc. The reason why this is being challenged is that software vendors, such as TaxFiler and Instafile have made massive strides forward with the automation of cloud-based accounts preparation and tax filing solutions.
Even if clients do not have their accounting records in the Cloud, many accounting firms are digitalising the clients records and are fully prepared to prepare accounts and tax returns without having to use the traditional desktop software applications. This I.T. strategic debate will only accelerate as we close out 2019 and into 2020.