The profession of accountant in the age of digital transformation
As accounting entry becomes more automated and the profile of entrepreneurs becomes digital, the profession of accountant must adapt to offer relevant advice. This is the turn InExtenso wants to take. Often less well known than the Deloitte name of which he was a member, In Extenso is a reference for accounting in France. With its development and a turnover of 396 million euros in 2018, up from 2017, In Extenso, whose operational headquarters is in Lyon, is now independent from the Deloitte Group and becomes, after 27 years of partnership, the first independent national firm owned by its 220 partners. The opportunity for Bordeaux Business to review the internal and external growth modalities of the profession of accountants who are increasingly taking their focus on digital.
A winning strategy for French SMEs and SMEs
In Extenso’s internal and external growth model responds to an original development model. Based on the notion of interlocutor, a central element of the customer relationship, the development of In Extenso takes place on two scales. First, on a national scale, two criteria are studied to select the regions of implementation: the potential and dynamism of the marketing target. Secondly, agencies are created by each regional entity. Their main advantage is proximity, as the agencies must be less than an hour from the regional headquarters and less than half an hour from their farthest customer.
This proximity strategy is also reflected in their internal growth. The implementation of the accounting and social processing process allows accountants and portfolio managers to focus on the customer relationship. This is the guideline of Eric Palat, appointed President of In Extenso Southwest in 2018. He wants to focus In Extenso’s internal growth model in the southwest on the development of human resources and the development of digital practices. Already in 2016, In Extenso had revised its employer brand around the HR strategy “Passion Inside” in order to attract new talent auditors and financial experts. For example, the Deloitte Group enjoys a good aura and a good image towards young graduates of high schools. With its well-identified development strategy, In Extenso demonstrates that it does not focus solely on short-term and accounting production. In Extenso invests in the development of services for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the areas of accounting as well as in related fields: legal, social, management consulting, IT, mergers and acquisitions. For example, Inextenso has launched a turnkey digital solution with Inexlab for entrepreneurs-innovators that commits to zero paper.
A key trade sector in the Southwest region
In Extenso in New Aquitaine represents 450 employees and more than 10,000 customers in the region. By forming real autonomous entities, accounting is empowered and becomes an expert of the company. This change of business was already noticeable with the Deloitte Group which launched a solution adapted to the SME-SME with its entity InExtenso but this is also the case with KPMG. Indeed, accountants must adapt to a well-identified revolution. By taking the digital turn, the whole sector can benefit from this paradigm shift. In New Aquitaine, accountants support nearly 2 million corporate clients. More than that, accountants are essential to the vitality of an economy. At the local level, they measure the pulse of a territory’s businesses and its economic dynamism. This is the case with the Economic Barometer set up by the Order of Accountants, which is calculated according to two essential variables: the monthly and quarterly changes in the turnover of the territory concerned and the amount of investments made by companies. With the rise of social tensions in France during the end of 2018, the barometer showed results at half-mast for economic activity in France. On the contrary, for the fourth quarter of 2018, Aquitaine’s business activity was up 2.4%. Finally, since 2016, the Barometer notes that the growth of the Aquitaine economy is proving to be better than that of the French economy.
At a time of digital transition, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are plebiscious to accountants in order to support them digitally. According to a 2015 Harris Interactive study, 80% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) trust their accountants as a priority to support them in the digital transition of their business. Regardless of the subject of a transition, digital here, it is good for a company to soften up experts who have a global and sustainable vision of their business both legal and fiscal. Accountants are the most able to drive this strategic transformation.
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