Jason Steedman is the Managing Director of Steedman Accountants
Steedman Accountants is a second-generation practice started by my father, an ex-HMRC tax inspector, in 1987. Our clients are varied and cover most traditional sectors, however the main focus of the company is now on SME level tech start-ups, scale-ups and crypto accounting/tax. The main challenge we have identified is an over-reliance on compliance work which is at risk of being phased out by technology, but at the same time we are ahead of the game in areas such as crypto accounting, which has provided us with new and unique service offerings and revenue streams such as data management and education.
We are one of the leading crypto accounting specialists in the UK, working with hundreds of clients across the entire sector, helping them to navigate the complex process of turning large volume crypto data into standard tax returns and financial statements. We are members of CryptoUK, the industry trade body that represents crypto businesses in the UK, providing input to the development of regulation and legislation in consultation with HMRC, FCA and the Treasury.
I think the UK is currently in an interesting place with the crypto industry. On the one hand the chancellor is announcing that the UK is set to become a global crypto powerhouse, while at the same time the FCA are up against it trying to form fit for purpose regulation and HMRC are trying to provide guidance on how to tax obscure crypto assets such as NFTs in a sector which is evolving at light speed.
"As the proper regulation comes in, I feel that the UK is a good place for aspiring blockchain/crypto start-ups to be at the moment."
Accountancy today is as much a technical analysis job as it is traditional tax and audit and I feel there is a lack of graduates coming through into the sector with sufficient interest or skills in areas like data analytics and software development. Becoming a valued tax/business advisor can take many years but there is a more immediate requirement for tech and data skills as technology phases out human roles.
Accountants shouldn’t just be accepting what software companies are offering us just now to solve our problems, we need to get ahead of them and understand the current and future gaps and get involved with the development of the technology as the market demands it, because in about 10 years time, accountancy compliance will likely be completely automated.
"The more accountants can understand about the fundamental workings of the tools they are using, the better working practices they can develop and the better advice they can give. "
For example, out of the back of the cloud accounting revolution, Tech Consulting / Automated Finance Director services, from the book-keeping end of the spectrum through to statutory audit, has become a new field of accountancy practice in itself.
I have an amazing team who are all self-managed and highly motivated and make me laugh every day, not by luck but by focusing our efforts into building a culture that attracts and retains the right type of people for the type of practice we want to be. From Fiona who has been with the company for 30 years, to the newest teenage apprentices, everyone fully invests in our values – teamwork, appreciation, professionalism, proactivity, innovation and responsibility. We want to be a company that aspiring tech-focused accountants and trainees want to be part of.