The International Federation of Accountants recently conducted the IFAC Global SMP Survey, which concluded that accountants feel that recruiting clients is their biggest challenge. While the concern is high in the United States with 58 percent assessing client attraction in the high or very high challenge range, 80 percent surveyed in the Middle East had the same concern and 59 percent in Europe.
The 2014 edition of the IFAC Global SMP Survey questioned small to mid-size accounting businesses internationally and received over 5,000 responses.
Another concern found amongst many of the world’s accountants is the need to reduce fees due to pressure from the market. The concern was highest in the Middle East with 68 percent of respondents there feeling the pressure.
As accounting standards and regulations around the world become more complex, many accountants are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up while at the same time reducing fees. Many feel that these challenges may make it difficult for many firms to remain open going forward.
The answer to these concerns may be adaptation. As the work environment continues to evolve and change with technology, some accounting tasks may be simplified while others may become more complex. Accountants need to be flexible with the changes and be able to adapt as needed.
Collaboration is also becoming necessary to succeed. Accountants need to be willing to collaborate with peers to examine their clients’ needs as these needs become increasingly more complicated. These collaborations may result in mergers or partnerships that can add value to the services provided by the business. Attracting fresh talent in the accounting field will also be necessary for success as new ideas are brought to the table.
While client attraction and retention are significant challenges that accountants face, they can be met with innovation, an ability to attend to the clients’ needs, and by being adaptable.