Simon Drane Accountants becoming

Accountants becoming data-based technology businesses

Accountants are poised to transform themselves by becoming strategic advisors to the businesses they work with. They will achieve this through greater use of technology, partnerships with technology businesses such as Microsoft, extending their reach into other service areas such as law, building on the already strong relationships they have with CFO’s, and moving towards a greater productisation of their service offerings. This was the conclusion for me, having attending the excellent Alternative Accounting Strategic IT Summit.

“How long before accountancy businesses become technology businesses? … we have a huge technology partner community that can make the numbers sing and dance but they can’t tell anyone what to do with them.”

This was one of the fascinating thoughts from Robert Pope of Microsoft in one of the closing keynote presentations. Microsoft have a compelling set of tools to help the accountants in transforming their clients’ businesses and Robert shared details of their approach to AI and how firms can leverage this. Microsoft is offering to act as the hub and help connect up their technology implementation partners with their accounting partners to jointly help their shared clients achieve new insights. This makes so much sense given the key challenge to leveraging some of the transformative technology is access to quality sources of data.

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Simon Drane

Simon Drane

earlsferry advisory
Simon has held numerous positions within the professional services sector over the last 25 years, at a FTSE 100 legal information solution provider, a legal technology consultancy, a law firm, an accounting firm, and a legal membership organisation. Simon has qualifications in law and tax, and deep experience in commercial product strategy. Simon has board level experience of both executive and non-executive roles, and as CEO of a technology startup. He has a strong track record in creating innovative product strategies resulting in multiple new multimillion pound high growth lines of business. Simon led the new investments product strategy area at LexisNexis and created and launched many of the next generation content and workflow product offerings for lawyers. At the Law Society Simon ran the commercial arm of the organisation and restructured a set of commercial investments through taking board seats. He also implemented a new commercial strategy including a significant shift in focus to legal technology innovation including the launch of a legal tech focused Barclays EagleLab accelerator. Simon has also held senior knowledge management roles in both law and accounting firms. Simon established earlsferry advisory towards the end of 2018 to help people with their product strategies, whether they are technology businesses, professional services businesses or investors into these spaces.