First insights from the ongoing Open Ledger Partnership market research of accountants across Australia and New Zealand shows that there is a significant knowledge gap among accountants about the impact of Open Data on their practice and their clients.
To set the scene:
The Consumer Data Right (CDR) empowers consumers, including businesses, to share their transactional data with trusted third parties to get better financial outcomes. It is currently being rolled out in Australia. The New Zealand government is following after having implemented a new legislative framework for a Consumer Data Right in July 2021.
The role of accountants has not been fully defined yet but it is becoming clear that they will play a central role in leveraging the power of Open Data for their business clients.
To gain insight into the awareness and clarity on the implications of open data on their accounting practice, the Open Ledger Partnership is conducting a quantitative analysis among accountants across Australia and New Zealand. In a first cut of the results (based on a sample of 186 surveyed accountants), we share our findings and the general trend.
“The research reveals that the majority of accountants are not ready for their duty as intermediaries yet “, said Carlos Chambers, CEO of Common Ledger, who is conducting the research on behalf of the Open Ledger Partnership. “But it also shows that they understand the need to get involved to unlock value for their practice and their clients. If this requirement is addressed with clear insights, an open and transparent discussion and practical examples, it will help accountants to set up their practices for the future and build stronger relationships with their clients.”
The overall familiarity with the Consumer Data Right is still very limited, on the accountant side as well as on the client-side. Up to now, only a few client requests about Open Data have been directed at accountants.
Despite the legislation actively including accountants as intermediaries into the latest version of the Consumer Data Right, accountants themselves are not aware of their role yet. Interestingly, while this applies to 95% of the surveyed accountants in Australia, almost half of New Zealand accountants expressed a general awareness of their role. Our research going forward will focus on and explore the reasons for this deviation.
The research suggests that the majority of accountants (>75%) are generally intrigued by the concept and are going open-minded into this debate. If anything, there is an optimistic tendency with about one-fifth of accountants saying that the implementation of the Consumer Data Right may pose an opportunity for their practice.
While the need is understood, and a willingness is there, the majority of all accountants questioned have no concrete plans to act on the CDR in the next 12 months (exception again in New Zealand with a quarter of all respondents wanting to get involved.) It is very likely to assume that this is due to the lack of relevant information sources and actual examples of services for accountants to relate to. It confirms the hypothesis that there is a huge demand for knowledge building within the accountant community in Australia and New Zealand around Open Data/CDR and their obligations and the implications for their practices.
The market research is still ongoing. To share your attitude towards Open Data we invite you to partake in the survey at www.openledgerpartnership.com/survey.