Update: This article was last updated on 4th November 2019 to reflect the accuracy and up-to-date information on the page.
Be it any industry, the competitive nature of the global market in this digital age has inspired professionals to take on more specialized jobs. In this day and age, the “master of one” is preferred over “jack of all.”
The competition to offer specialized services has somewhat become a trend in the accounting industry too. Nowadays, the clients also expect accountants to act as a financial and business specialists who have influenced many firms and CPAs to pursue niche business verticals and offer high-value specialized services.
In this article, we shall briefly discuss how accountants can deliver focused high-value services by focusing on accounting industry verticals.
Trusted Business Advisors
The existence of the contradicting trend within the industry, where CPAs and accounting firms have to act not just as financial consultants but also as trusted business advisors, and more, usually diversifies, and to some extent, also dilutes the business value of their services.
But with specific industry vertical specialization, CPAs and firms can now deliver high business-value accounting services, simply by focusing on niche industry verticals.
Businesses nowadays want and expect their accountant or firm to be perceptive and insightful of their specialized field while also having crucial knowledge regarding its legislative intricacies and common operational issues. They expect their accountant or firm to keep a steady eye on the future of the business and the latest and upcoming trends in their industry.
For instance, let’s take the example of real estate clients. In this case, accountants and firms serving such clients must come up with actionable intelligence to minimize risks. Accountants and firms specializing in real estate must, therefore, have immense knowledge of the internal operations and other nuances to help their clients minimize their tax liabilities, boost services, and efficiently manage cash flow.
Let’s take a look at another instance with accountants working for the restaurants and hospitality industry. In such cases, the firm or the accountant must again have a deep understanding of the industry to deliver insights to their clients in the form of operating costs, inventory management, and seasonal trends.
They must help their clients stay profitable by offering focused data and intelligence to reduce expenses, streamline operations, and strengthen financial controls. They also need to be able to deliver other basic services like payroll management, wage and hour regulations, and much more to help such clients.
The accountants and firms of today also need to have a fair bit of knowledge about the latest technological innovations and developments, which they can further share with their clients.
For instance, most businesses nowadays are shifting from on-premises IT infrastructure to cloud-hosted infrastructure. They can advise clients on the plethora of industry-specific cloud applications available in the market nowadays that seamlessly integrate with other business systems and operations.
Artificial Intelligence and Big Data are some other technological developments that are becoming increasingly popular and expected to do wonders for the accounting industry in the coming years.
Using modern technologies, they can handle basic yet tedious tasks like time and attendance and workforce scheduling quickly and more efficiently. They can advise clients on the technology/tools/utilities to implement and integrate with their accounting software such as QuickBooks to boost their productivity and efficiency.
The increasing level of client expectations has led the accountants and firms to discern the numerous nuances of their client’s industries, apart from the traditional aspects of accounts and finance. With the ever-rising cloud adoption rates and the trend of implementing other modern technological advancements, technology is another aspect where accountants can deliver immense value as advisors.
Accountants and firms which have immense knowledge and expertise to handle specific industry verticals are in high demand. Accountants and firms with financial expertise in the niche verticals are even more preferred nowadays.
This is due to the fact that they can deliver unbiased and holistic suggestions regarding accounting tools and utilities. But only through comprehensive industry specialization can accountants and firms hope to achieve this level of expertise and competitive advantage within the entire accounting industry.
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