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Professional services: innovate to adapt better

Tomorrow is Today

Offers, business models, business lines, customer relations: professional services firms must undergo nothing short of a (r)evolution to adapt to the digital age. Deloitte’s Digital Accountant serves as the example.

How does an activity as traditional and “analogue” as accounting transform with digital technology? This is one of the challenges professional services firms face today. “Our group is based on human capital and intellectual property: if we do not want part of our staff to become irrelevant, we have a duty to reinvent ourselves and to innovate when it comes to services and the way we provide them to our clients,” underscores Vincent Fosty, Partner and Digital Leader at Deloitte.

The stakes are high for the entire sector. “Digital developments are changing our business models completely from a system based on hourly rates and number of days, to a model less dependent on the ’human driving force’, closer to IT services, where the acquisition of software is being replaced by a form of rental via the cloud.”

The nature of the activity is also changing. “Our staff have to become seasoned consultants in new technologies, capable of flanking the implementation of these solutions at the client’s”, says Vincent Fosty. “This requires an enormous amount of upgrading and innovating. Moreover, we organise an annual innovation campaign which leads to three or four new service offerings.”

Natural transparency

The ‘Digital Accountant’ offer emerged from one of these campaigns. This digital platform shared by Deloitte Accountancy and its clients, “facilitates the interaction between their and our teams considerably, while helping to make this interaction more professional,” explains Nikolaas Tahon, Managing Partner Accountancy. Accessible everywhere, at all times, and securely, it gives the CEO a clear view of his/her company’s performance.

Such a common platform also introduces enhanced transparency between the chief executive officer and his consultant. “The time between the moments when events occur in a company to the moment that they are reported, is constantly being shortened. Such reporting often used to take six to nine months. Today, it is a matter of days or a week. I hope that we will soon arrive at a ‘zero waiting period’.”

Far from a threat, digitisation is actually an opportunity for Deloitte. “Thanks to this development, which I must highlight has been ongoing for some 20 to 30 years, we can improve the financial administration of a company even further through the standardisation of processes,” according to Nikolaas Tahon.

The time between the moment events occur in a company to the moment they are reported is constantly being shortened. I hope that we will soon arrive at a ‘zero waiting period’.

Nikolaas Tahon, Deloitte Accountancy

Digital Accountancy

The example of Lotto-Soudal

Behind the Lotto-Soudal cycling team stands the Lotto Sports Organisation (LSO). This subsidiary of the National Lottery has adopted Deloitte’s Digital Accountant Platform. Surprising? Not really. Lotto-Soudal has an annual budget of €15 million which it has to manage very carefully while taking unforeseeable elements into account. “We have to negotiate contracts as of July, during the Tour de France… without the slightest certainty as to the budget for the following year!” Financial Manager Greg Maes explains.

How does LSO benefit from using Digital Accountant? “We can keep track of our budget day after day, which enables us to adjust our strategy in accordance with precise facts, intervene more rapidly, and ultimately reduce risks.” And the constant availability of financial data and documents proves invaluable “when the opportunity to integrate a new cyclist arises,” Greg Maes adds.

De Tijd (12/3)

INNOVEREN OM DUURZAAM TE GROEIEN

Het digitale tijdperk breekt voor iedereen aan, ook voor dienstverlenende bedrijven. Het Digital Accountant platform van Deloitte is een mooi voorbeeld van een geslaagde transformatie. Digitalisering vormt geen bedreiging, maar is een opportuniteit.

Published: 12 March 2015

L'Echo (12/3)

SERVICES AUX ENTREPRISES : INNOVER POUR MIEUX SE TRANSFORMER

Offres, modèles d’affaires, métiers, relations clients : les sociétés de services aux entreprises doivent réussir leur (r)évolution pour s’adapter à l’ère numérique. L’exemple avec la plateforme Digital Accountant de Deloitte.

Published: 12 March 2015
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