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In Part Three of our series about the IT challenges faced by the accountancy sector, we looked at how the implementation of effective IT plays a major part in client retention by giving fee-earners the opportunity to delight them with great customer service. In this final part, we will look more closely at the solutions available and how they will help your fee earners make more of their time.
A large part of an accountant’s job will be the menial tasks that have to be done, even though no-one enjoys doing them! Without a ‘joined-up’ IT strategy, this often involves repeating tasks on different portals and pulling data from them to input into a central spreadsheet. With the right technology, these menial tasks can be done quickly, accurately and automatically at any time of the day or night. This allows fee earners more time and energy to concentrate on the elements of their job they find more motivating and less tiring.
Fatigue is a huge problem in any industry, and there is compelling research showing how demotivating it can be. An academic study looking at decisions made by judges on Israeli parole boards showed a huge differential in decisions made just after a break and just before a break. Those whose cases were heard immediately after a break had a 65% chance of a favourable ruling. Those whose cases were heard later in the day and immediately before a break had an almost 0% chance of getting parole. The study concluded that, as people get tired, they look for easy shortcuts, which, for the judges, was to uphold the status quo and deny parole. From a broader perspective, it can be interpreted that repetition causes fatigue in staff, which in turn is likely to substantially decrease their ability to do a job accurately and consistently, as well as their motivation to work to the best of their abilities. So by automating the tasks that are more likely to result in fatigue, you will be increasing the likelihood that your clients will receive a much better service.
Expensive technology does not need to be expensive
We have a number of clients who have already chosen different ‘best of breed’ applications for different departments, but none of them are integrated. Our clients worry that when they come to us for a strategic overview, we will not be able to integrate these existing applications, and instead we will use an off-the-shelf, middle-of-the-road solution that will not work as well as the individual components and will lose the firm a lot of money. This is most definitely not the case as we can always find a bespoke solution for every firm enabling each accountant to work to the best of their ability.
Large firms are able to use highly specialist and expensive software such as IBM Watson, but many small and mid-sized firms do not even consider it because of the costs involved. What they do not know is that, by using AI integration bolt-ons and working through a data mining company, it is possible to rent access to Watson as and when you need it. By only paying for the time you are actually using it, the scalability makes it affordable and cost-effective, allowing small and mid-sized firms to compete with larger ones on a level playing field.
Better for teamwork
Many accounting firms offer a number of services and solutions, so clients will have different specialists working on their account. It is likely that fee earners will all be working on different specialist applications, none of which ‘speak’ to each other, meaning no-one on the team has a good overall picture of any one client’s account.
In these situations, we recommend using Microsoft 365 which integrates the different applications and can pull all the data together on one portal. With everyone on the team getting a top-level view of every client’s account, all your fee earners will be in a position to make better-informed decisions about every account.
Better for attracting talent
Using new technologies will also make your firm more attractive to potential new staff members, especially younger people at the beginning of their career. Technology is now such an integral part of young people’s lives that they expect to be working with it. If you provide talented staff with the kind of intelligent, automated technologies they are used to, you are more likely to attract the best young accounting talent to your firm. If you don’t, they are simply going to go and work for a firm that does. Can you afford to lose them?
Lumina Technologies have taken the time to understand the requirements of our business and work as our strategic IT partner, enabling us to concentrate on delivering a high quality service to our clients and focus on our growth strategy. They have delivered a 100% cloud solution to our business with no underlying infrastructure costs or maintenance, which gives us scalability for our planned growth. It also means our business critical applications and data are securely accessible from virtually all our user devices. Lumina’s professional approach and strategic expertise is highly valued and their management of our IT – based on their in-depth knowledge, leaves us confident that our systems are available 24×7.
Luke Harrison, Keidan Harrison LLP
Lumina have supported us so well through the difficult circumstances of 2020. They worked extremely hard to ensure we were able to work remotely and continue to operate our business successfully.The support team are very friendly and knowledgeable, and have excellent response times.
The team have also enhanced our cyber security which is so important in the legal sector, and they continue to provide high quality advice to help us move forward with our IT goals.
Adams & Remers
The quality of IT Support provided by Lumina Technology is of the highest standard and is complemented by effective client liaison with impressive response times. Trap Oil Group plc has no hesitation in recommending Lumina as a dedicated and specialist group of IT professionals.
Technical Director, Trap Oil Group plc
Richard and his team are a real inspiration to anyone who meets them and I have watched Lumina’s growth over the last few years with interest and admiration. Richard has been an amazing supporter of the Hospice of St Francis, being a Gold member of the Corporate Partner Network for almost two years. He takes an active interest in the community and is passionate about his company and his town: nothing is too much trouble, he is always willing to help, to give up his time and to provide business advice when asked. Lumina is an inspiration to any company wanting to set up business in Hertfordshire.
Corporate Fundraising Manager, The Hospice of St Francis
Lumina Technologies Prism Hosted Desktop has allowed our business to centralise our global corporate data, allowing much faster access for all our staff – regardless of their location. We have also been able to simplify and reduce our infrastructure and management overhead. With the new Prism Hosted Desktop solution all staff now have simple and secure access to corporate data using any device they choose. Prism Hosted Desktop has increased the productivity of our staff and given us a single, consistent and familiar experience for all users from any device, in any location, 24/7.
Chief Executive Officer, Wentworth Resources PLC
The commercially sensitive and regulated nature of Lambert Energy Advisory’s business requires an IT provider able to maintain the highest levels of integrity and confidentiality, Lumina Technologies has consistently been unimpeachable in this regard over the nine years we have employed them.
Lambert Energy Advisory
It has been a great pleasure working with Lumina Technologies over the past two years. They have fully committed to being involved in the local community with volunteering and with professional advice and commitment, helping many local charities along the way. As a growing company it proves that being involved in the local community is helping them attract and retain a talented workforce and I look forward to working with them well into the future.
Hawkstone Management Services Ltd is a small company for which IT Outsourcing is realistically the only viable option. Lumina Technologies have successfully performed this role for over fifteen years. They also provide innovative solutions to keep pace with technological progress. I would have no hesitation in recommending Lumina to similar sized businesses.
Hawkstone Management Services Ltd
Charles Douglas Solicitors LLP have been using Lumina Technologies for a number of years now and continue to be impressed by the technical know-how and contemporary knowledge of their senior management, who provide a timely, efficient and friendly service. Whether it is a small issue with one computer, or a strategic IT decision, they maintain a current knowledge of available technologies. Lumina are always at the other end of the phone to help resolve issues and minimise business interference. The technical knowledge of Richard and his senior team means that there has not been a problem that they can’t solve to date. I am sure we will continue to use them in the years to come.
Managing Partner, Charles Douglas Solicitors LLP
The team at Lumina Technologies have made the Amoun Travel & Tours office IT transition seamless and problem free. The office set-up has been vastly improved and the IT Support services are flawless. No issue goes unresolved, which is extremely reassuring.
Amoun Travel & Tours Ltd
Lumina Technologies has been Salamander Energy plc’s IT provider since start-up in 2005 and has supported us in London during our expansion across operational offices in SE Asia. Their professional approach, strategic advice and close co-operation have been essential in making this a success.
Group Technical Director, Salamander Energy plc
Richard and his team at Lumina have provided Perrett Laver Limited with high quality strategic and practical IT Services for over ten years. During this period, Perrett Laver has grown from 10+ colleagues based in London to nearly 100 colleagues located in six offices across the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific. Richard and the Lumina team have not just been responsive to our ‘everyday’ IT needs, but have proactively sought to work with us on developing an infrastructure suitable for the type of operation we are today, and are planning to be months and years down the line. I would not hesitate to recommend Richard, especially for small to medium size business with growth in mind.
COO, Perrett Laver Limited
Society Limited has been supported by Lumina Technologies since our earliest start-up phase. From large logistical challenges like an office move, through to smaller fiddly issues like fixing a faulty e-template, we know we can count on their support and advice. They’ve also been able to engage with us strategically on the challenge of scaling-up our infrastructure as the firm continues to grow and evolve. We always feel confident going to Lumina with a problem, since we know they genuinely care about sorting things out and helping us to get on with our core business.
Managing Director, Society Limited
The Vita Group HQ staff have worked with Richard McBarnet and Lumina Technologies for over 9 years, with Lumina providing all our PC, server, phone, and software support. The services have included C-level executives based in London, Manchester, the US, as well as supporting home office IT as well. The service provided and intellectual capabilities are outstanding and we would highly recommend Richard and his Lumina team.
CEO, The Vita Group
We worked with Lumina on a GDPR Audit. Richard was knowledgeable and professional throughout, and did the best he could to bring a dry topic to life through lots of real life examples and analogies. We were so impressed with the service Lumina provided and the value we got from partnering with them on this project – we couldn’t recommend them enough.
Holly Cottingham, Vintec Laboratories