How does your business assess and implement new technology?
In part one of our four-part series on the top IT challenges faced by the accountancy sector, we discussed the importance of strategic leadership. In part two, we take a look at the technology itself, showing how you can make it work for your firm and, as a result, increase efficiency and profits.
But first, you need to ask yourself an important question: Do you believe that, in the next five years, the accounting industry is going to be affected by technology?
If your answer is yes, think about this follow-up question: What are you doing about it now in order to prepare for that change in the next five years?
We are often asked for advice on adopting new technologies and assessing their suitability in order to help firms implement what is right for them and deploy it successfully.
What are you doing to make tax digital?
The government’s Making Tax Digital initiative has wide repercussions for the accountancy sector. Firms now need to install and implement compliant software packages in order to be able to meet HMRC requirements and ensure their clients are also ready.
Your fee earners must have the right tools to help them to work more efficiently. It may well be that their job involves a lot of repetitive tasks that could easily be done automatically by IT software, freeing them up to take on extra fee-earning work.
Biggest isn’t necessarily best
We have had new clients come on board who, when it comes to technology, have gone for the most high-profile ‘best of breed’ systems, but now perceive this as a mistake due to the lack of integration between applications and platforms. Whilst there are one-size fits all solutions it may well be best in the long term to invest in integration and middleware rather than throwing everything out and starting again. It is therefore our job to understand what your firm is trying to achieve, how it works and what your primary challenges are, and then do a gap analysis in order to be able to recommend the technologies that are best suited to your firm and target the areas that will bring you the most success.
An independent view from an external consultant can give you a different perspective on the technology and solutions available what is and is not needed. We will take a holistic view of your firm to assess the best path for your firm going forward, one that will not require you to rip everything out and start again.
Improving customer service
The right technology can also help your firm improve its customer service. When your staff are on the phone to clients and have to wait for a slow computer to catch up, it will reflect badly on your firm, not to mention the time your fee earners are wasting. We recently deployed new hardware for one client who estimated that the increased speed and performance of the new technology saved fee earners 5-10 minutes every morning, the time they had previously spent waiting for their computer to boot up. If you replicate that across the whole business, then the firm is making a considerable ROI in terms of maximising possible fee-earning time.
Working as an outsourced Chief Information Officer, we will assess and implement the right hardware and software to enable your firm to run more efficiently and profitably. We will also ensure all staff are trained to use the technology in the most effective way – in some cases, companies have the correct technology, but staff have not been trained to use it properly.
In part three of our series on IT challenges for accountancy firms, we will look at how technology can help you provide great client service – something that is fundamental to retaining business. If you would like our advice about the right technologies to use in your accountancy firm, please call us on 01442 500890 or email email@example.com to book an appointment.