Published Wednesday 18th September 2019

Not so long ago if someone had told you that you didn’t need a shop to buy virtually anything, you’d have considered that person slightly odd.

Creative destruction is a wonderful aspect of capitalism and in just the last year I’ve leased a car, bought all my Christmas gifts, transatlantic flights, currency, groceries, hotel accommodation, classic car parts and most of my clothes without leaving the comfort of my office.

What does this mean for professional services firms? Quite simply many of them could be wiped out by the next wave of innovation.

Legal services, for instance, is one of the industries most vulnerable to the rise of artificial intelligence and the rapid development of fintech. Admittedly there are some larger firms embracing AI and the opportunities to make huge amounts of revenue from doing so – but who’s to say that it won’t be software companies, or the big accountants or tech start-ups that claim the crown.

Disruption is rarely good news for incumbents as bookkeepers will attest with the rapid rise of Xero, or records management firms with the ever-increasing supply of cheap cloud storage.

Imagine a world of smart contracts where you wouldn’t need to use a conveyancer or a solicitor’s account to buy or sell a property. It’s already happening – I ran into Neil Singer CEO of Click To Purchase just after he’d completed the UK’s first blockchain conveyance – his platform has completed £232m of commercial property transactions to date.

About the Author: Jason Adderley, leads Account Management & Development in the professional services sector for ERA. He joined ERA after a 15-year career in the commercial property development and investment industry, and works with a diverse client base comprising solicitors, actuaries, chambers, patent attorneys, accountants, surveyors, consulting engineers and recruitment consultants.

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