We’re already seeing some interesting changes in the Australian medical profession recently. More doctors are doing online consultations, and it’s a new strange world. Are we one step away from allowing foreign doctors handle online consultations. There are already specialists in offshore places analysing x-rays and various reports. How far away are we from a computerised system that can handle basic questions on whether a customer has a certain disease or virus. And if the medical profession can make massive changes, then how about the Australian accounting profession.
Most Australian accountants and Accounting firm owners are working from home in Australia. It’s been difficult in the cases of those firms who haven’t been fully cloud compliant, but it’s forced the majority to make that major move online.
And without the time wasted commuting, and all the other time savings, and less social interaction (good or bad), and hopefully less time spent on social media, there has been a chance for many to stop and think about their firm’s future.
While we wait for an Uber/Airbnb like offer to destroy the Australian accounting compliance landscape, or perhaps the AI/Bots that are just around the corner, perhaps it’s interesting to see what will happen once travel restrictions are lifted. Once the whistle blows and everyone shouts “Go!”, where will everyone go?
For the Australian accounting firm owner who has distributed staff throughout the city, there must have been a lightbulb moment that staff can work from anywhere. If the staff can work from anywhere, that gives them the opportunity to work inside or outside Australia once travel restrictions are limited. And that gives Australian accounting firm owners the opportunity to source staff from anywhere on the planet. You can expect a major shift towards outsourcing/offshoring.
And if the accountants can work outside Australia, then why can’t the Australian accounting firm owners. Pick for example Singapore. Company tax rate of 17%. Dividends tax free. Personal tax at 0% and capped at 22%.
The unanswered question really is once things return to normal, where will the accounting firms be based, and will there be laws enacted to discourage an already small tax base from fleeing overseas. Certainly higher taxes on the remaining businesses and business owners are likely to be not so well received.
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