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The Future of the Accounting Profession with Steve Cox of Iris (Highlights)

Episode 63. On today’s show, a Leaders special interview where Rob Brown talks to Steve Cox, Head of Accountancy at Iris Software on the future of work and the accounting profession.

Steve Cox is Head of Accountancy for Commercial at IRIS Software Group. He is a technologist and chartered accountant (FCCA) who looks at how technology can simplify the modern working environment. Steve joined IRIS in 2002 and has worked in many areas of the business including Customer Support, Engineering, Product Management and Marketing. His most recent previous roles at IRIS include Senior Product Director, Interim CTO and Chief Evangelist.

Steve has almost 20 years of experience in technology and accounting which he uses to work closely with customers, software companies, accounting/governing bodies and the government to champion the digital transformation and role evolution of accountants. In his current role as Head of Accountancy, he looks across the globe at how technology and legislation is changing the roles and requirements professionals in the workplace and looking to the future to predict how their roles will further evolve.

Key takeaways from the full uncut interview include:

✓ The secret to longevity in software and fintech where the average job change happens every 1-2 years

✓ The key personal and professional changes that have disrupted the accountancy accountancy profession during the pandemic

✓ How the complexity and volume of regulatory change has ramped up for the accounting sector in the last couple of years

✓ The issue of recruitment and retention of suitable talent for accountancy firms

✓ How service delivery is providing challenges for accountants from increased demands of clients and regulation

✓ What percentage of the accountancy profession has been digitised so far

✓ How the new ways of working have increased pain points for CPA and accounting practices to cover all the bases in hybrid situations

✓ The challenge of building culture for accounting firms in a virtual working environment

✓ Research on the number of new accountancy practices being formed every month in the UK (and likely the same in other countries

✓ What an increased volume of start up, fully digitised accounting firms does for the marketplace and the pressure it puts the very small firms under to survive

✓ How client demands have changed throughout the pandemic and why the new starts ups demand more of their accountants due to technological advancement

✓ The subtle changes in what it means to be a trusted advisor, with a move towards ‘agony aunt’ and emotional as well as professional support

✓ Why many accountants are now being asked by clients to advise on areas they’ve never had training on, like recruitment or HR

✓ The arguments for and against in working for a big accountancy practice versus a smaller one

✓ Despite the uptick in new accounting firms starting up, some stats on how many are winding up, being sold or just dying

✓ Figures from the US and the UK about the trends in the so called ‘recession proof’ accounting sector

✓ Factors which might dictate what decisions accountants make about their time, particularly with work life balance and mental wellbeing

✓ What the next five years might look like for the world of accounting and fintech

✓ The three technology drivers that are disrupting the accounting sector globally

✓ Why artificial intelligence or AI will never replace the role of an accountant or CPA

✓ Where new competition is coming from for accountancy firms

✓ Comments on “its time to get rid of the accountant” software vendor plays from the likes of Xero, Ember and Pilot

✓ the number one most fundamental thing about the client-accountant link that vendors or automation will never replace

✓ Whether full ‘big-box’ suites might win over a variety of specialised apps for accountancy practices (best of breed vz best of suite)

✓ The importance of implementation and adoption to make software solutions work and integrate in accounting firms

✓ What might make software vendors work more collaboratively with other vendors and potential competitors in the future

✓ How accountancy firms can best plan and prepare for future change in turbulent times

✓ Where research, development, innovation and new design starts for software and tech vendors who work with accountants and CPAs

You can connect with Steve on LinkedIn here.

NOTE TO LISTENERS:

This is a condensed highlights version of the full interview (usually 20-30 mins long), which you can catch as a bonus UNCUT episode at the weekend.

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