Sounds bizarre right? Two opposite polar occupations thrown together to form one new noun? Some could take it as a literal sense, the tax accountant of a rockstar, or some may take it as more intended, a tax accountant with a very unstereotypical approach to their work. Luckily I can actually boast falling into either meaning, so I guess I have a bit of credential here to explain.
But as suggested, this new up and coming buzz word is leaning towards the latter. The new dynamic generation of tax accountants are not donning V-neck sweaters, (well, unless they’re designer cashmere) and they’re leading more Gen X and Y lifestyles and then reflecting that in their practice. This means flexible delivery service and smart, efficient technology edge, and likely more desirable marriage material…
You’re forgiven for wondering how and when this came about. Are accountants now cool? You didn’t get the email? Perhaps you’re still reading memos. How in the world did tax accountants become fashionable, fun and tech savvy? Well there are two major driving forces that have pushed us this way, and within that, a major divide with (and likely demise) of the old style and attitude, stereotypical tax accountant. Change resistance is foe to that group, and friend to the rockstar accountant.
Firstly the demographics of those in the accounting profession. For all the seminars and conferences I’ve attended there is a sea of grey hair edging towards a superannuation condition of release, then another group of well-dressed, bright-faced 20 and 30 somethings, and only a sprinkling of people in between. It’s simply generational. Maybe the younger generation thought it was even more challenge to make accounting cool, maybe it’s due to the drop out rate that occurred with the introduction of GST in 2001, or likely it’s due to the skill shortages from 2002 to 2007 and subsequent supply/demand that roped the young ones in a few years back, and who are now practicing.
The second thing pushing this revolution is technology itself. Gen X and Y woke up and realised they don’t have to sit there and manually calculate a cash receipts journal, post to general ledger, trial balance then prepare profit & loss and balance sheet. We have software for that. Lots of it. Don’t get me wrong, the craft of debits and credits is deep in my heart, but let’s face it, if there’s a quicker way with less effort and similar or more quality of outcome why wouldn’t you? So further to this, we realised we can offer much more valuable advice to clients in the time we have based on what we prepare, instead of just preparing numbers and stopping there.
Either way, it’s putting pressure on the older generation to step up or get out.
Where will it go from here? Well we’re seeing that this younger accounting profession is actually more at the forefront of pushing technology advancements compared to other traditional professions. The rockstar tax accountant is now doing education in IT fields and offering a service hybrid. Could this just make us nerdy again? Probably not, because the IT guys are just starting to break their mould too. (Just starting though!) It all boils down to a more modern service for tax accountant clients.