I have a good chat earlier today with Euan Brown of Total Accounting.
Euan is a forward-thinking accountant who has re-positioned his father's chartered accountancy firm; away from traditional, year-end compliance work and towards outsourced business process and management accounting services.
He told me that his clients don't want to be involved in any of the bookkeeping, payment processing or payroll for their businesses - they let Total Accounting handle all of that. Instead, they just concentrate on growing their business using the up-to-date, accurate management information produced by the firm for them.
Clients value the financial information being provided to them at a time when it is still useful for decision-making. This focus on adding value is, of course, good for the accountant-client relationship and protects the firm against downward fee pressure.
Euan has also realised that being deeply embedded in a client's day to day finances and administration processes means that he is in a much more secure, long-term relationship with them.
I disagree with his choice of Sage as the bookkeeping engine, because I think there would be real benefits in this scenario of using an online service, but otherwise I have to applaud Euan for envisioning the future of the profession and taking steps now to take advantage of the new opportunities to come.