Asgeirsson Says Technological Adoption is Spurring Demand for Firm Advisory Services
NASHVILLE (Dec. 8, 2021) – Advances in technology, the pandemic-related shift to a fully digital workplace and rapidly evolving business models are creating huge opportunities for CPA firms – provided they take the necessary steps to stay ahead of the curve, said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com.
The accounting profession proved its worth over the past two years, strengthening its bonds with small business owners and playing a crucial role in delivering business relief, Asgeirsson said during his keynote presentation at the Digital CPA Conference, which concludes today. That credibility is helping to fuel what was an already growing opportunity in advisory services, although firms face challenges from non-CPA external providers making use of disruptive technology.
Asgeirsson discussed several trends from the past year, including:
Growth Opportunities in Client Advisory Services (CAS). Research from CPA.com shows a heightened demand for CAS services, with a 20% median growth rate in net client fees that outpaces traditional practice areas. New capabilities in such areas as financial planning & analysis, business intelligence and other key areas suggest there’s more room to define and expand the category and build client value. CPA.com plans to offer new tools and learning opportunities in the coming year to help firms make that leap.
“The challenge is how to elevate, enhance and evolve CAS to bring the next level of service, what we’re calling CAS 2.0,” Asgeirsson said. “No firm has fully optimized the service line yet.”
Fintech Comes of Age. Some 81 percent of consumers now use fintech and the industry amply proved its value to business over the past 20 months, with digital lenders leading the way on the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other relief programs. The components of this category are maturing and expanding, from online lending and regulatory technology to increased uptake of online payments, Asgeirsson said.
CPA.com and leading fintech Biz2Credit last year developed the CPA Business Funding Portal, which served as a platform for CPA firms to effectively manage business relief for their clients. The portal is now adding term-loan options for CPA firms’ clients, a recognition that business funding advisory services will become increasingly important going forward.
Rohit Arora, co-founder and CEO of Biz2Credit, joined Asgeirsson on stage and likened small business clients’ changed perceptions about the fintech industry to the 1969 moon landing. “The Eagle has landed,” he said. “The future is here now. The customer is totally ready to be digital.”
Client Relationships Drive Value. Maximizing value to clients often comes down to a firm’s structure and strategy, Asgeirsson said. Forward-looking firms don’t just update their technology, they examine their business model and client base to make sure they’re aligned with top performance. Firms can embark on that strategic review now to make sure that necessary changes are in place before busy season.
The Importance of Investing at the Edge – CPA.com and AICPA & CIMA continue to take a leading role in moving the profession forward on innovation, Asgeirsson said. One example is the development of the Dynamic Audit Solution, which will transform audit methodology and give rise to the modern, data-driven audit. Others include the organizations’ annual blockchain symposium, the startup accelerator program for accounting technology, regulatory tech and ESG-related early-stage companies, and the .cpa web domain now rolling out internationally.
“We’re well prepared,” Asgeirsson said of the outlook for the coming year. “I’m extremely optimistic about what we’ll achieve. Together, we’re going to lead.”
CPA.com brings innovative solutions to the accounting profession, either in partnership with leading providers or directly through its own development. The company has established itself as a thought leader on emerging technologies and as the trusted business advisor to practitioners in the United States, with a growing global focus.
Our company’s core mission is to drive the transformation of practice areas, advance the technology ecosystem for the profession, and lead technology research and innovation efforts for practitioners.
A subsidiary of the American Institute of CPAs, the company is also part of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the world’s most influential organization representing the profession. For more information, visit CPA.com.