The tax professional of the future – 2018 Barossa Convention


At a time in which traditional knowledge boundaries are rapidly eroding, the tax profession faces more serious challenges than in any other historical period.

Recent years have seen significant developments that are already affecting how we engage with clients and deliver services to them. Clients' expectations have also shifted.

At the 2018 Barossa Convention, Grant Thornton's Steve Healey CTA (Life) will deliver the keynote address, which will examine in detail the impact of these changes and how professionals can seize the opportunities they bring.

The following quotes are excerpted from the paper that Steve will present – 'The future tax professional'.

Steve Healey CTA(Life)
“Traditionally, we, as advisers, have been custodians of a body of knowledge that has within it enormous complexity. Today, we are witnessing a fundamental shift in the way we interact with each other in our personal and professional lives, in how we solve problems and generate new ideas. In future, the work professionals do will be fundamentally transformed as knowledge becomes more widely shared and available and as systems become increasingly capable to deliver what professionals have traditionally been engaged to do. 

“I do believe that many of us fail to appreciate just how quickly things are changing in the world and therefore fail to understand the resulting impact on our business and the businesses of our clients.”

In the keynote address, Steve will explore how changing expectations and technological developments are combining to impact the relationship between adviser and client.

“As professionals we are not immune to what is happening around us and it is incumbent on all of us to understand what this means for our clients, for our people and for our own businesses if we are to thrive or, indeed, survive.

“We need to recognise that our clients are far more empowered and armed with a much greater level of knowledge than they were previously. Many of us have already seen our clients becoming increasingly demanding and prepared to pay far less than they once were for what might be described as the provision of traditional services.

“The personal experiences in all facets of our clients’ lives are fuelling greater expectations, through such services as Netflix, Google and Amazon. Communication channels have also fundamentally shifted to “real time” through social media. In this new world, not only will our clients be demanding more, they will want it to be delivered faster.”

Steve will offer his views on a potential future state, expanding on a model of the adviser as a 'trusted concierge', and how professionals can capitalise on this period of change.

“Having said all this, I believe that the changes we are seeing are creating new platforms and paradigms for the professional services practitioner and do not mean that there will no longer be a role for the practitioner. Rather, I believe that the practitioner will play an even more important role in distilling a plethora of information, data and knowledge to deliver forward-looking insights, using tools and connections across a far wider spectrum than has traditionally been possible.”

Steve’s session will look at getting the balance right between what you know (your IQ) and your emotional intelligence (your EQ), the rise of the sharing or peer-to-peer economy, and the shift in the ‘trust paradigm’ and what this all means for the traditional role of the expert.

“It is relevant to consider how the trust paradigm broadly appears to have shifted away from institutions such as political parties, banks, churches and even professional institutions, towards individuals and even strangers.

“Technology is the enabler of this shift, creating new ways for us to trust strangers, and we are becoming more accepting of that paradigm through platforms such as Airbnb and Uber and through shared peer experiences and ratings.

“Professionals also need to shift our mindset from the ‘expert that has all the answers’ to the ‘trusted concierge’ that listens and works with the client and other sources to provide the answers. For many, this is a fundamental but critical shift in thinking and in the way we approach the relationship we have with our clients, our people and the broader connected community.”

Later in the Convention program, and touching on some of the themes introduced in Steve’s address, PwC's Alistair Hutson CTA will take a deeper dive into the impacts of technology on the profession in his session ‘Technology – how will it change your role, your business and the value you provide your clients?’

These forward-looking sessions are backed by the usual high-quality practical sessions you’d expect at every Institute event.

Join us as we celebrate 50 years of South Australia’s Convention. The celebrations will allow us to reflect on the past and also on the fact that ‘the future is now’.

The 2018 Barossa Convention will take place on 3-5 May 2018 at the Novotel Barossa Valley Resort.

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