CPA firms are entering the modernized business world of cutting-edge digital services to stay competitive in the financial market. Before we dive into the five ways to successfully adopt technology in your CPA firm, let’s answer a few questions.
Why should you implement technology in your firm?
2020 gave rise to a significant shift in how business and IT teams operate. Gartner expects this disruption to cause a permanent change in technology over the next four years, impacting IT automation strategies.
Here are several reasons why you need to implement technology in your firm.
- Reduce human error – Automation reduces the chance for human error, helps ensure consistency, streamline processes, and increased security by eliminating mistakes that could cost CPAs and their clients along the way.
- Prioritizes people – Empower your employees by removing mind-numbing tasks and provide them with a sense of value. Freeing intellectual energy enables employees to work smarter, complete tasks faster, and focus on the important work of business solutions and customer satisfaction.
- Save money – Are you worried that technology will be costly? Well, stop worrying about it, because it is. However, about 30% of surveyed employees say automation software saves their business money, 44% say that automation saves them time, and 33% of workers say automation enables them to accomplish more with fewer resources.
- Future success – Reducing redundant steps to complete mundane tasks allows freed departments and employees to accomplish more in less time. Without overhauling an entire team, you have increased your firm’s most valuable asset; human resources. Implementing AI allows your team to keep their heads up and prepare for and create future solutions that will give your firm a competitive edge.
What stops CPA firms from implementing technology?
The lack of technical knowledge causes us to make the following excuses:
- Automation is not useful to my business right now.
- I don’t know if it can help me. My needs are unique.
- We can’t afford it.
- It takes too much effort to learn a new system.
- It will damage job security for my employees.
- I am just afraid. Haven’t you seen iRobot?
- It is just too complicated.
Don’t let these inhibitions hold you back from becoming even more competitive in your market. Become educated and aware of the advantages and disadvantages before you dismiss the power of technology.
Accounting has been a time-consuming pen to paper industry for so many years. It’s hard for firms to change, but those that implement technology realize they become more competitive in the market by providing intuitive information quicker to their clients. That’s what businesses want; a trusted partner that gives them understandable, just in time information to make business-saving decisions.
So, what are the five ways to successfully adopt technology in your CPA firm?
1. People are the key to success – All aboard!
A successful digital transformation has little to do with the cutting-edge systems you implement, how many workflows you can automate, or how seamless it connects to your business. The key to digital transformation success centers around the people that will use it.
Understand that the people who use the new technology every day will champion it or make it falter. The ability to get your people on board will lead to quicker adoption, increase revenue, and saved time.
Tips to help your team adopt technology:
- Ensure technology is easy to use.
- Emphasize the benefits and value for the employee.
- Engage early adopters and make them champions.
- Provide training that is short and fun.
- Measure, adjust, and listen to concerns.
2. Digital-savvy leaders
A big challenge for accounting firms is IT stagnation. Scan your organization. Is there an IT specialist on staff? For most firms, the answer is no. If you have IT on the team, you might feel they are costly expeditors. If properly utilized, they can be a valuable asset to your entire organization.
When asked in an interview, Anthony Pugliese, president and CEO of California Society of CPAs said, “It’s vital to maintain an open, growth mindset and be flexible and adaptable to change in times like these. There are new opportunities to expand business in this climate to help clients and employers meet their goals. Use this time as an opportunity to invest in technology and your people.”
Now is the time to invest or retool your IT resources. A digital-savvy leader will help guide your firm into the future of technology adoption. They will ensure the implementation receives appropriate resources, oversee implementation processes, and manage any conflicts that arise.
Communication is the key to victory! There will always be frustration and challenges while trying to introduce or learn new technology. IT specialists should communicate the implementation of any new technology to staff. The specialist should share items such as status, benefits, training, timeframes, and expectations.
Having open communication can help your team “buy-in” and reduce resistance and stress to the changes implemented. Getting them talking about the office enhancements and improving their jobs will get them excited and feel a part of the change.
4. Fully implement the right solutions.
In the current economy, every organization has become very competitive. Companies begin to implement IT solutions to improve efficiencies. When selecting, implementing, and rolling out new solutions, the lack of communication may result in frustration when not thoughtfully approached.
Ten attributes should be taken into consideration when technology is selected. Any one of these attributes, when not implemented, can be a source of conflict, which can derail the project or lose the confidence of the employees.
The ten attributes are:
- Common business views
These attributes increase implementation and rollout success and improve the confidence of the organization.
5. Ensure a positive user (employee) experience
Last but not least. Ensure you work closely with your IT specialists to ensure that your solution is ready to be used by your team. In other words, don’t roll out the solution without plenty of time for Quality Assurance and training.
Too many companies get excited about the rollout of new technologies and make the mistake of giving their team access too early. Employees are like your clients; if they have a terrible experience with AI, they will not want to use it. Employees are more critical of flaws than your clients will be. The quickest way to sabotage technology’s rollout is to release it without ensuring a positive user experience.
The selection, implementation, acceptance, and upkeep of technology can be challenging for any organization. However, if managed properly, the implementation of technology can be successful if organizations plan, communicate, and monitor their plans.
Five Ways to Successfully Adopt Technology in Your CPA Firm – Summary
Successfully adopting technology in your CPA firm is a must. It is needed to transform your firm into a modern digital powerhouse. Before you start your journey, realize the benefits and understand the excuses why firms can’t implement technology.
Understanding all of these details will help CPA firms successfuly implement technolgoy.
Justin Hatch is the Co-Founder and CEO of Reach Reporting, a leading visual financial report provider in North America. Justin co-founded Reach Reporting in 2015 and transformed it throughout the years into a data visualization company. Reach Reporting is recognized by accounting firms across the nation as a premier reporting solution. Justin is passionate about changing the way financial professionals present data to their clients.