Even the internet can’t provide all our solutions – why we still need our accountants (and our mums)
When our daughters were still toddlers, I declared that I would leave home when they became teenagers. I was a bit afraid of parenting teens in the world of devices and social media. Well, it’s happened. Our eldest turned 13 a few weeks ago.
I haven’t left home, and I guess I probably won’t. For the most part, our teen is a delightful girl. Navigating the challenges of parenting a teenage girl is probably going to stretch me, but I’m up for it. It’s a learning curve, for sure, but what new thing isn’t?
There are so many things about being a teen that weren’t around when I was one. The obvious one – instant access to almost anything via technology is a biggie. Along with technology comes knowledge or, perhaps more correctly, perceived knowledge. Sometimes I get asked a question, give an answer and then minutes later I’m told I’m right (or not) as she’s “asked Siri”. Mother redundant?
Perceived knowledge isn’t just the domain of the teenager. Dr Google provides diagnoses on disease and Wiki provides answers to just about any question you want to ask. In my world of tax advice, the internet can provide thousands of resources for people in business. There’s Artificial Intelligence applications out there that can supposedly get better marks on a tax exam than real people.
In a world where we can access pretty much all the answers on the internet, why would we use a real live adviser for anything?
Well, just like my daughter who needs a hug when things are getting her down, we need relationships. Perhaps you don’t want a hug from your tax adviser, but I would argue that the human element to advising will never be redundant. If I meet someone to discuss a tax issue, sure, we’re going to talk about that, but we’ll also have a conversation about how their kids are going at school, or the latest new idea they’ve had for their business. It’s an opportunity for my client to raise other issues and explore options.
The internet just doesn’t care about that stuff. And we all need caring for. Just like my teenage daughter (but don’t tell her I said so).