Traditional accountancy firms must remodel and resource themselves to support their clients through the disruption of the digital economy or lose relevance, says business transformation consultant, Anita Muller.
Muller, who was appointed to the Board of Directors at Matthews Steer Accountants and Advisors on May 21, says the increasing importance of organisations moving as a pack to navigate a more complex world, help shape industry strategy and build broader opportunity puts onus on accountancy firms to provide support beyond the classic professional services model.
“Today’s businesses are looking for help to navigate very different continuous stages of growth and can end up with patchwork quilt of advisors which can ultimately work against them,” says Muller. “The challenge for today’s accountancy firms is to resource themselves across the facets of the advisory space which are critical to help build client performance and growth in this changing landscape.
“It’s one thing to portray yourself as a trusted advisor, and quite another thing to retain that trust because you actually have the capability to advise your clients through the different stages of their business growth.”
The Founder and Director of transformation and leadership accelerator Running Tall, Muller says the emergence of the digital economy is challenging many traditional businesses and manufacturers who are used to operating independently and in relatively stable, consistent industries.
“As these older businesses struggle to transition, there’s going to be a real gap in the economy unless they and new entrants are supported to navigate the changes,” says Muller.
“That in turn creates a significant opportunity for professional services firms to take a strategic lens to help their clients survive and then thrive through the disruption in their industries.”
Muller says the firms that speak the language of collaboration, embrace a new remit, and evolve their model to partner their clients through the changing landscape, will have greater impact and relevance.
“It’s a hectic, creative, dramatic and traumatic period, and it’s an exciting period if you are working with clients who are seeing the opportunity and challenges in the modern entrepreneurial environment,” she says.
“It’s about getting into the washing machine with your clients and partners, and that’s challenging but exhilarating.”
As Director of Running Tall, Muller works with CEOs, owners, equity partners, Boards and leadership teams to help design the next generation of their company, maximise current performance, and transform their business and team to the new build.
She has contributed to guiding the growth and transformation of companies and organisations in intensely competitive industries including T2 Tea, Forever New, the Work Health Group, Swann Communications, Melbourne Airports, m3 Property Strategists, the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC), the Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI), and RMIT.