Automation’s Effect on the Accounting Industry

CPA Conversations Podcasts by Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs

CPAs understandably can get weary when considering all the effects automation could have on the accounting industry. Though according to Hitendra Patil, director of practice development for AccountantsWorld and author of Accountaneur: The Entrepreneurial Accountant*, emerging technology will not only fail to harm their job prospects, but also could make the CPA’s role more valuable in the long run.

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The Impact You Have On Clients.

Nicole talks with Hitendra Patil the author of the recently published book Accountaneur. Hitendra has worked in the Outsourcing, IT, Finance and Accounting industries during including leadership roles in India, Thailand and the US.

Create measurable value for your clients. It’s not about the ‘work you deliver’ but the impact you have on the clients you secure (the human being).

4 Kinds of Buyers:

1 – Commodity Buyer – price focused – good for business as it forces efficiency and productivity gains

2 – Product Buyer – looks for state of the art product and services, has a clearly defined need and is looking for a customized set of services

3 – Solution Buyer – has a specific need and is looking to ensure their need is within your core competency, they need you to be informed and to keep them informed

4 – Consultancy Buyer – looks at the professionals experience and willingness to partner for the long term over frequent interactions and a longer period

Determine where you want clients to come from – what category; and start talking to those clients. Create messaging/solutions specifically targeting at those clients.

Today business developers are more like consultants they’re providing clarification on what clients learned before contacting them.

In traditional outbound marketing – the provider contacts the buyer. Today a lot of professional business development is inbound where the buyer is contacting the provider – they’ve already determined there is fit between your services and their needs.

Technology allows clients to qualify providers and providers to target specific potential clients.

Ask your clients what ‘your Wow’ is – ask them what they value in your services. ‘Your Wow’ is delivering beyond expectations.

In business development you need opportunities with buyers. It helps to build risk reversal into your offer. Offer a free trial period where the only risk is the time they take to try your services.

Last word: Be a keen observer/student of others. It’s about the human experience.

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HaydenRock Accounting Success Podcast

This week’s guest on the Accounting Success Podcast is Hitendra Patil, Director of Practice Development at AccountantsWorld and also the author of a terrific new book called “Accountaneur: The Entrepreneurial Accountant.”

Gleaning lessons from neuroscience, technology, and behavioral economics, “Accountaneur” shows tax and accounting professionals what it takes to succeed in today’s dynamic competitive environment. In my opinion, if you are an accountant and you are breathing, “Accountaneur” is a must read. It’s especially timely given the changing accounting landscape and presents eye-opening insights into today’s emerging opportunities for accounting and tax professionals.

Check out our conversation here:

Hitendra’s unique training and experience make him the perfect guest to discuss this week’s topic: that fascinating, mysterious, and occasionally beguiling entity known as the CPA mindset.

We delved into the CPA mindset – the good and the not-so-good – and explored what mindset changes we need to consider to maximize our potential. We also touched on:

  • Why the most successful entrepreneurs see risk as opportunity

  • What your clients are telling Facebook that they’re not telling you

  • How accountants could be the happiest people on earth

  • Lessons learned from Bill Gates and his “lazy employee” theory

Hitendra holds advanced degrees in business and science, and has spent decades working in technology-driven businesses, mostly in the financial services industry. He has been in the trenches with accountants and CPAs for over 10 years as the leader of a company producing work for accountants – giving him rare insight and perspective on our industry’s challenges and opportunities.

The SWOT of the accountants business model: The Sage Advice Podcast

About The Sage Advice Podcast: It is dedicated to the possibility that entrepreneurs continue the work of creation. We celebrate them by allowing them to tell their stories and share their knowledge with others. In doing so we energize the success of businesses around the world through the imagination of our people and the power of technology.

The Business Model SWOT: In this 10-minute interview, I discuss with Ed Kless why accountants need to adapt and adjust their business models. We, as the #accounting profession, are at an all time high of the technological disruption. And it will only intensify in the future. It presents us opportunities, and also threats we haven't experienced before. The business models of accounting firms must adapt, adjust and accelerate to leverage opportunities and overcome threats.

Click here for a quick 10-minute listen


Hitendra Patil recently released his book "Accountaneur: The Entrepreneurial Accountant." An Accountaneur, as defined by Hitendra, is “an entrepreneur who, with considerable initiative and risk, organizes and manages business that provides tax, accounting and advisory services to solve problems for people for profit or for pay, by employing productive labor and technologies.”

Why is this important to you and why should you consider reading it? For starters, I believe most of our readers meet the definition of an Accountaneur. The book, which I read in the airport waiting on Delta to recover from their recent power outage related problems, condenses learnings from some of the best business management books in the market. He takes the reader page to page to help you focus your time and efforts where they will be most beneficial, and provides actionable steps you can take to improve your business.

I had the opportunity recently to ask the Author some questions about the book and the reason he wrote it.

IA: Why did you write the book?

HP: Over the years, I recognized that there are two major, distinct outlooks that accountants exhibit. Those who are "wanting to grow" and those who are "waiting to grow". Those who

(really) want to grow are "making" things happen. Others are "letting" things happen. I dived in deeper, in the belief that every accountant "wants" to grow. I could not fathom why anyone would "wait" to grow. It made me research several different aspects of the business environment in which accountants function: how they think, what are the behavioral economic factors that impact their decisions, how they look at a myriad of client situation, how they approach their practice situations and so on. It all resulted into a focused quest of finding out what is that distinction. And that is what led to the discovery of distinct traits of The Entrprenurial Accountant i.e. Accountaneur.

What is now a book, did not start out as a book at all.

IA: What is an Accountaneur?

If you are an accounting professional, compare yourself with any accountant in your area. You both have similar educational qualifications. You both have similar experience. You both use similar software applications. You both have similar tools and skills. The profiles of your clients are almost similar. So what differentiates you from others?

It is how you think. How do entrepreneurial accountants think? Taking a cue from several research studies across different professions and industries that identify traits, strengths, talents, skills, values and beliefs, we tried to identify the most common attitudes and beliefs of successful accountants who can be deservedly called as entrepreneurs in the true sense of the word.

IA: What is the difference in an Accountaneur and an accountant or an entrepreneur?

HP: The difference between an Accountaneur and an accountant lies in his or her traits, strengths, talents, skills, values and beliefs.

There are three types of people in the professional world. Those who work for others, i.e. in a job. Those who work for themselves, i.e. who create a job for themselves. And those who create jobs for others. An Accountaneur either works for him or herself or is the one who creates jobs for others in the tax and accounting profession.

IA: What do you hope accounting professionals will gain from reading your book?

HP: While my work helped me interact with thousands of accounting professionals, I gained insights that I feel are very critical for success of any accounting "business" (note, I am not saying accounting "practice").

There are several nuances covered in my book. I bring wisdom and proven success methods from different industries and apply it to the Accounting profession. That is one thing I strongly recommend to all accounting professionals. Do not just look to emulate success of your peers but also look for success lessons from all around you, from different industries, from your clients, from your vendors and so on. I believe that my book brings a fresh perspective on how your own mind can make all the difference to your success.

IA: You provide a tremendous amount of information on building and running an accounting practice. How do you recommend a reader approach the book?

HP: I invite readers to not just read the book but actually "use" the book. There are several insights in Accountaneur. Some are based on insights gained from some real deep scientific research. When we meet truly entrepreneurial accountants, we feel and sense their different ways of thinking; how they perceive the same situations differently to find opportunities in what others perceive as threats; how they take considerable initiative and risk, etc. And we figured out that there is a common pattern in their thinking. We want you to discover that pattern of thinking for yourself.

Each topic is an easy, quick read and you do not need to read the book at one go or several pages in a sitting. You can take any chapter as you like and think of how will you leverage the content to grow your business. Once you have read a chapter, make your own notes relevant to the current situation of your "accounting business". Then look at it as if you had your dream business right now. You may notice a stark contrast between your current state and future vision. And when you identify that difference, work backwards to make a to-do list of action points that will take you to your desired future.

IA: Are you planning to provide any further training around the book and concepts you present in the book?

HP: Yes. Absolutely. First and foremost, I will be happy to discuss thoughts and questions from readers. You can email your thoughts and questions specific to your accounting business to Over a period of time, I am looking to create an "Accountaneur badge" that will help the "entrepreneur clients" of Accountants to know that this "Accountaneur®" is better equipped to be their most trusted advisor for entrepreneurial decision-making. Accountaneurs will be the most consulted strategists of their clients. There will be further research into some distinct success traits - and the findings will be published in the next book in the Accountaneur series. There are plans for an online assessment of accountants' entrepreneurial thinking traits.

IA: You always have a great new technology that you share with me every time we see each other. Do you have anything that has caught your eye lately?

HP: This book contains diverse topics ranging from human behavior science insights, to how new technologies are transforming human life (including technologies not from accounting industry), to the impact of generational differences on the future of firm. A common thread among all is how you can understand people better and in turn, leverage that expertise of human understanding to grow your business. In my quest to understand human behavior. I keep searching for new technologies and trying several of them out. Let me share two of them with you.

If you are into writing and content creation, even as simple as writing an email to your clients, staff etc. - use HemingwayAppmakes your writing bold and clear. The app highlights long, complex sentences and common errors; if you see a yellow sentence, shorten or split it. If you see a red highlight, your sentence is so dense and complicated that your readers will get lost trying to follow its meandering, splitting logic — try editing such sentences to remove the red. It also gives you the "readability score" of what you have written. The online app is free to use. Desktop version is just $ 9.99.

One more technology that absolutely amazed me uses the personality assessments of people, all from information available online and instantly provides you insights about the person who you are going to interact with. It installs as a browser extension and then when you are on prominent social media websites, at a click of a button you can review the personality of any person. It suggest what words you can use when speaking to that person, suggests email drafts based on specific situations and the personality traits of that person and so on. It is not a perfect science but I continue to be amazed at the sheer concept of this technology. I use it extensively and I find it very practically useful. It has a free integration with your calendar app and then when you have meetings scheduled, it brings you personality insights of your meeting attendees. Take a look at CrystalKnows.

I keep sharing plenty of useful content via my LinkedIn profile - not just what I write but also content that I specifically curate for accounting professionals. Please connect with me on LinkedIn - just send me a friend request at

IA: Big Brother certainly is watching! In closing, will you share how people can purchase your book?

HP: Sure thing. It is available at on the CPA Trendlnes store at: