Some 83% of accountants have seen an increase in requests for guidance and planning two years on from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, according to new research conducted by FreeAgent, a cloud-based accounting software.
The findings point to “the growing need for businesses to navigate ongoing economic uncertainty”, according to FreeAgent.
Data also showed that nearly half (47%) of accountants state “the ramifications of Brexit are still unclear”, with only 37% believing that Brexit has had a positive impact on the profession compared to the 10% who believe Brexit has had a negative impact.
Additional results from the survey showed that there has been a 69% increase in requests around managing working capital. A similar increase has been seen for counsel regarding complications around UK financial reporting standards, which is predicted to increase to 68%.
Aside from the Brexit forecast, new Covid-related legislation (44%) and tax implications of sustainability (42%) are the top issues that businesses will be advising their clients on in the coming year followed by Making Tax Digital (39%). One third (33%) also state that gaining an understanding of newer technologies is the most important factor for “future-proofing” their role.
Other factors impacting accountancy include the ability to strategically identify areas of growth (52%), learning about new app integrations (56%), and developing technical skills (49%). These elements will be “essential for the future of accountancy” amidst the implementation of MTD.
Roan Lavery, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, said: “Unsurprisingly, both Covid-19 and Brexit have had a significant impact on the accountancy profession. Our research not only highlights the challenges that accountants and accountancy practices have faced over the past few years, but also some of the opportunities that they could benefit from as we enter into a post-pandemic and Brexit-filled world.
“Although it’s been nearly two years since the UK left the European Union, Brexit remains a huge issue for the accounting sector, as clients require help to navigate through increased red tape and higher costs. Businesses are looking for guidance and the increase in requests across the board suggests that further opportunities may arise for accountants as the UK continues its post-Brexit journey over the coming years.”
He added: “Furthermore, it’s likely that accountants will need to be prepared to identify new strategic areas of growth and ensure they are consistently up-skilling themselves and their practices. Future-proofing their roles to meet new legislation and adapt to an increasingly digital world will be the key to navigating any uncertainty or challenges in the years ahead.”