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Technological advancement and disrupting the status quo’s nothing new, it’s occurred often throughout time. Embracing this change, evolving as a business and applying creativity in solving problems are imperative however for survival.

I was fortunate enough to spend two days at ‘The Alternative Tech & Innovation Leaders’ Summit’ focusing on professional services, contemplating just this, discussing how this will inevitably affect the future of the sector. Having attended a similar event earlier in the year which specifically focused on the accountancy profession, I was keen to see how the wider industry was tackling this broad and evolving topic.

A number of things stuck with me over these two days, firstly the disparity in both how far along the various professions are in terms of using the technology available, and their attitude/approach to it. Secondly, the level of investment in technology and innovation by some of the largest global players in the industry. Finally, the impact advancements in technology are having on our people and culture both personally and professionally.

What really interested me was the challenge faced by many professional services (and no doubt many industries outside this sphere) when it came to developing new talent. With each generation, seemingly more tech savvy than the last, balancing this along with traditional professional learning and grounding’s becoming increasingly difficult. A concept explored further by Amani Smathers in the legal world, her ideas revolved around the move from traditional career advancement being focused on technical knowledge and skills, to one which requires a more balanced skillset including a broader understanding of technology and data and project management skills. This resonated quite strongly, having built the foundation of my career with the technical side of learning.

What’s not fully understood yet is the impact this digital evolution is having on health and wellbeing. Education and awareness are sure to be key tools to manage this going forwards.

Relationships and understanding our clients however still remains paramount. With the desire to drive innovation, it’s often easy to forget the catalyst for innovation in the first place. Listening, engaging, and collaborating with not only our clients but our teams should still be the reference point for any advancements in technology and innovation.

The current pace of change is exponential, with 90% of all data ever generated being created in the last two years. Innovation’s likely to be non-negotiable for many businesses to stay competitive and relevant in today’s world, both in terms of the talent they nurture and the customer of the future.

Want to know more? Call us on 01604 746760 or email

About the author

Gary Woodhall

Gary joined the business in 2015, and now acts as the firms’ Head of Audit & Accounts across the region. He heads up an exceptional team who play a key role in supporting our clients, by listening and responding to the challenges they face by providing honest, expert opinion and advice. In a business landscape which is constantly evolving, it’s important we’re continually offering up fresh solutions to our clients; whether this be utilising the latest technology or freeing up their time by providing a fully outsourced finance function, which enables our clients to focus on the future.

Gary’s also had the pleasure of sitting on the Haines Watts National Audit Board, to help steer our audit offering, as well as advancing our own internal processes and procedures.

Prior to joining us, he started his career at a big 4 firm in 2004, where he spent over 5 years providing audit services to clients, across a broad range of industries including; property, retail, manufacturing and professional services. Aside from holding both Partner and Audit Director positions, advising businesses across the Midlands and Home Counties, he’s also worked as a lecturer and technical consultant to the accountancy industry. During which, he advised both professionals and firms on best practice, client service and the latest technical developments.

He’s a firm believer in supporting business owners develop a sound financial foundation, upon which to build their business without compromising on compliance. The time spent working with owner-managed businesses and accountancy professionals means he brings a wealth of both practical and technical experience to the process.

Outside of work, aside from spending time with my young family, I like to keep active mainly splitting my time between training in the gym or at the local CrossFit box.

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