Creating Advisory Opportunities through Accounting Transformation

The word “transformation” is everywhere in today’s business landscape. Whether it comes up in the context of business practices or the digital revolution, people are fascinated by the idea of profound change. But within the realm of accounting, what does transformation actually mean? 

At Summit 2023 in Washington, DC, Donny Shimamoto hosted an inspiring session on this very topic. With a focus on moving beyond the hype and making transformation a reality, Donny shared valuable insights about what accounting transformation looks like in practice and how firms can leverage it to seize new opportunities in advisory services.

First Things First: What Is Accounting Transformation?

Donny defined accounting transformation as the catalyst that enables organizations to unlock the transformative power of digital technologies by making pervasive changes to their business processes and business practices.  A key word in this definition is catalyst—highlighting the accounting firm’s role in igniting the process of change and speeding it along to accelerate results for clients. It’s all about leading the charge toward a more digitally enabled and prosperous world.

New Tech, New Risks

As emerging technologies like robotic process automation and the Internet of Things continue to reshape society and business, they introduce new risks that force businesses to rethink every aspect of their work. So, while innovation is an essential part of transformation, it must be balanced and guided by strategy and risk management.

Accountants are famous for their skill with financial controls, and their unique end-to-end perspective is increasingly valuable to clients who are learning how to navigate rapid technological advancements fraught with complexity and interdependencies. The accounting profession is perfectly positioned to seize new advisory opportunities, but true success in new service areas requires firms to develop the skill of leveraging nonfinancial data to provide even more value to clients.

The Way Forward

Whether you’re launching a transformation or refining your efforts, it can be helpful to analyze what successful firms are doing. In his presentation Donny shared research findings that pinpointed the defining traits of today’s top firms.

  • Advanced use of Technology is important, but the best firms leverage technology strategically. Every aspect of their tech stack is driven by legitimate business need and aligned appropriately with the firm’s overall strategy for transformation.
  • A distinct culture. Today’s most successful firms also have a strong firm culture and a clear set of values guiding their work. They are deliberate about crafting and communicating their unique mission, vision, and values, both within the firm and externally to clients and prospects.
  • A commitment to people. The presence of clearly structured ways to develop and retain staff is another hallmark of today’s top-performing firms. These firms recognize that transformation is a team effort that requires the embrace of continuous improvement and learning across all levels of the firm.

A Fresh Outlook on Value & Outcomes

Accounting transformation is all about creating a new vision and challenging the status quo, and the need for a new perspective also applies to the way accountants view their own work. Instead of focusing on audits, tax returns, or financial statements—which are only the products of accountants’ services—accountants need to understand how their services impact their clients and communities.

By shifting the focus to the outcomes, it’s easier to see the true value that accountants offer the public and society. Their services generate peace of mind, vision, and clarity, which in turn helps clients provide for their families and employees while generating confidence and hope for a better future.  Advisory services are a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that accountants can do more than simply account for the past—they can help clients understand how to accelerate their success and create a more prosperous future.

How Allinial Global Can Help

Transformation is bigger than change—it is huge, holistic, and creative. To bring it to fruition, firms have to step up their strategy and alignment to conquer the challenges that arise when shifting from an outdated operations-driven mentality toward a more purpose- and vision-driven strategy.

No matter where you are on your transformation journey, Allinial Global offers a wealth of resources to support your firm’s growth in the key areas of technology, culture, and people. From our tech-focused strategic partnerships to Executive Working Groups and our newly enhanced leadership program AG NEXT, we are here to support your firm’s transformation every step of the way.

If you’re ready to start accelerating possibilities, join us at the upcoming Executive Team Conference, our signature event for elite firms leaders who want to take their firm management, strategy and growth, and leadership skills to the next level.