Behind the Mask talks to Heather Townsend about opportunities in the accounting industry and the innovation in 'non-alcoholic drinks'
3. What song from your past still gets you moving today?
I think this change is already happening within the accounting profession. We are seeing tasks which used to take weeks now taking minutes or seconds. As a result the skills that are going to be prized more by the profession are the ability to form strong relationships with clients, and analysing the reports or accounts produced.
Technology is disrupting the accountancy profession as we know it. Disruption on this level needs strong leadership. This is not something typically associated with accountants. With the level of disruption hitting the profession, there are strong and often opposing voices leading the debate. What we do know is that the amount of compliance businesses will be required to do is likely to go up as the taxation bodies move towards more regular reporting requirements. But we also know that technology will be able to do far more of the grunt work that comes with compliance. So who knows? Compliance is far from dead. But whether small accountancy firms will be able to make a decent living by just focusing on compliance alone, who knows?
Whichever voice you decide to listen too, change is coming. You will need to adjust your practice’s business model to be able to not just survive, but thrive.
MTD (Making Tax Digital) - and the other initiatives which will follow - is meaning that most business owners are coming under pressure to move their bookkeeping to a cloud based tool. This means that accountants will have, often for the first time, the opportunity to see their clients’ day-to-day bookkeeping. This visibility of their clients’ affairs should be a catalyst - if the accountant makes time for these conversations - to be a more valued member of the client’s team.
Given how busy I am with work at the moment. I’d love to be buying a drink for my husband or some of my good friends. For my drink, I’d probably ask for a seedlip and tonic. Or just a fever tree elderflower tonic to be honest. I am loving the innovation which is happening in the ‘adult’ non-alcoholic drinks market place at the moment. Not sure what we would chat about, but I suspect my blue hair may come up in conversation, how I damaged by wrists and thumbs on my mountain bike...
Don’t do Engineering Science at Oxford University, do Psychology (it will be much more interesting and relevant to your future career.)
I have too many ideas for books I want to write. If I retired I would spend much more time writing, and much more time on my mountain bike and walking through beautiful countryside.
To stop my hair from turning silver? Growing tall so I get to 5ft 3” in height? Getting my son to switch off the lights and open the curtains when he is the last person to leave the house?
Our aim is to carry on working with our club members to help create a new generation here in the UK of accountancy firm owners who have created a £1m firm.
Liked our interview? Read more in our Behind The Mask series.