Consumer confidence is improving. Was it the change in leader or the change of message? The message has focused us on innovation and technology as the way forward for Australia. The language is very positive and the electorate is listening according to the polls.
Is it the passion in the delivery or is there substance in the message? Maybe it doesn’t matter, but whatever your political persuasion, we all want Australia to prosper. Australia was slow to enter the GFC and we have certainly been slow to recover. It is great to see cranes in the skies once more and this mirrors the optimism reflected in the polls. But what is it about this theme of innovation and technology that has hit such a positive nerve for Australians.
Wikipedia defines “innovation” as a new idea to create a more effective device or process. “Technology” is defined as the knowledge of techniques and processes that can be embedded in devices.
In my business we have been embracing innovation by using technology to combat against the offshoring behaviour of many financial services practitioners. I receive two or three emails each week offering a cheaper business model and more profit if I send my client’s processing overseas to cheap labour countries like the Philippines or India. Australia brought in tough Privacy Laws in 1988 but are we policing them? Many firms are taking the more profitable innovative option to offshore rather than use the innovation of technology to remain relevant. Many do not obtain written permission from clients before sending their most personal financial information and identity offshore to save a dollar. My issue is two fold, firstly as “Professionals” our ethical pronouncements which separate a true profession from an industry are being flouted. As professionals we must put our clients’ interest before our own. Secondly the low level work being off shored is reducing the opportunity of our young professionals to cut their teeth and gain a greater understanding of the work we perform for clients. Over the long term this will change the quality and quantity of qualified Australians capable of doing the work.
Like Mr Dick Smith who fought so passionately for Australian manufacturing, I am most likely fighting a losing battle over the mighty dollar, however digital disruption is now impacting most service industries in Australia so as Australians we have a choice.
Ask your Accountant and SMSF administrator if they are sending your information overseas for processing. You might be horrified how prevalent this practise has become.
Five years ago an accountant could process 80 to 100 Self Managed Super Funds (SMSF) per annum. Today using technology and best of breed software, an accountant can process 300 to 350 SMSFs per annum. This is the way we can remain relevant. We need to embrace technology and be prepared for the digital disruption which is changing our world.