Meet The Speaker - Carl Reader
Hi, I’m Carl Reader Director of D&T Chartered Accountants. Now you might have heard of D&T; we've got about three and a half thousand clients and we've been pretty well known in the accounting space. We've been multi award-winning and we've pioneered being the first Xero partner in the UK and building our own technology to really push the business forwards.
I'm actually an accidental accountant. I started out after leaving school as a YTS hairdresser and fell into accountancy. Perhaps by not being the ‘usual’ accountant I've been able to see why accounting firms don't work and work around that, so we can embrace modern technology
What are accountants doing wrong?
The biggest mistake, in fact it's not a mistake, the biggest issue, that I see with accounting firms is a reluctance to change. Sometimes we are guilty of being in a profession and wanting to do what we've always done because it's easy, because we don't have to step outside of the box. We don't have to stick our neck out and be at risk of being shot down. Now unfortunately the financial world is changing. Fintech solutions are accelerating at a massive pace. It's my contention that the compliance (preparing tax returns, preparing accounts, the stuff that we've done day after day month after month year after year) is going to be automated at some point. That stuff is going to be handled by computers and us, as accountants need to understand how we can step up a level, how we can really live to our own visions; what we want to do. In my own firm we've actually adopted the vision ‘Adding Value Not Numbers’ because it sets out exactly what we want to do. We know that software will get to a point where we don't have to manually type numbers into a computer system to then file the accounts or tax returns with government agencies. We actually want to go out to our clients and give them something different. Now most accountants are afraid of making that jump. Why? I don't know, because accountants are overly qualified to do it, it's what you've done your exams for. You've met with thousands and thousands of businesses in your time, so why not share that knowledge that you've got? Overcome that roadblock, that fear of change. Attend exhibitions, network with other accountants and make that change.
How important is networking?
Networking is absolutely vital in any business and I know some people don't like it. They think it's cringe worthy, they don't like the idea of forced referrals, they don't like the idea of sitting around a table at seven o'clock eating breakfast. Networking isn't about that! Some networking groups are like that but in business you need to network more generally. You need to meet other people out there and rather than trying to sell at them just get to know them, because business is about people. Business is no longer B2B or B2C. it's H2H, human to human, and that human connection is absolutely vital. We live in a day and age now where people feel that they can network as much as they want online. You can even find me, I'm on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on Facebook 25 hours a day. However, that social networking is only one part of a jigsaw. By going out, meeting other business owners, meeting suppliers, meeting potential customers, you can really accelerate your business and as I say it's not about meeting them to thrust a business card onto them and hope for the best, it's actually about getting to know them as people. It's H2H remember, human to human. If people know you, they like you and trust you their business will soon come.
What makes Accounting Live unmissable?
So I’ve been in the accounting world for just over 20 years - I know I don't look old enough, and accountants obviously take people on from the age of 12 but I've been in the accounting world for a while and I've seen so much change happen, and the pace of change is only accelerating. There’re cloud accounting providers but you know what, they've been around for 10 years. There's software that can help you really add value to your clients by giving you a platform for advisory. That's great as well but there's more change around the corner and it's not just the stuff that the government are forcing on us. We hear about things like Making Tax Digital and so on but actually the automation of Accountancy is threatening all of us and we need to change the way that we're doing things, so I would wholeheartedly recommend visiting Accounting Live and getting to know what's going on today but more importantly what's happening tomorrow.