Historically, there have been two approaches to choosing technology for an accounting firm: turnkey or “best of breed.” For a while, many firms were taking the turnkey approach, in which they buy most or all of their technology from one solution provider.
That strategy has fallen out of favor in recent years as many firms have realized that a one-size-fits-all solution isn’t right for their firm. Realizing the importance of evolving technology, CPA firms are moving back to a best-of-breed approach. With that comes many additional benefits, including integration.
Benefits of Integration
Accounting firms employ a lot of cloud-based and on-premise applications and systems in their daily operations. These solutions gather large amounts of data, including client information, payroll records, transaction data. If these solutions are integrated and able to “talk” to one another, then your firm can maximize the data shared across system. Time would no longer be wasted on entering the same data in multiple locations and the potential for errors would be greatly reduced.
Even better, firms with well-integrated technologies can drill down into the data, gaining valuable insights about their clients and their firms. This data can improve existing processes, maximize the use of staff member’s time and and help your firm stay ahead of the competition.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud-based applications make integration easier and lower cost. What’s more, your solution providers can (and should) help your firm set up the software and get their products talking to the other solutions your firm uses.
The Acceleration of Evolving Technology in CPA Firms
Technology was evolving rapidly before the pandemic, but the COVID-19 crisis accelerated the rate of change in our profession and all business sectors. According to a McKinsey Global Survey of executives, companies have accelerated the digitization of their customer interactions and internal operations by three to four years, and the share of digital or digitally enabled products in their portfolios has accelerated by seven years.
In this environment, it’s important for the technologies your firm uses to be continually evolving to keep up with the profession. Not too long ago, a firm could implement a new client portal, document management system, or workflow solution and expect to use it with little iteration for five, six or even ten years. But today’s technology is not “set it and forget it.” If your solution providers aren’t evolving, it’s time to look for a new solution provider.
Even if you don’t change solutions, the way you use them should continually improve. We designed Amelio with continuous improvement in mind – the software isn’t designed to create processes and leave them as-is for five years. Many of our clients review and update their existing processes and workflows at least annually. By listening to our clients needs, we build enhancements to Amelio accordingly.
Avoiding Technical Debt
Technical debt is choosing a short-term solution that increases complexity and costs in the long term. Firms get into technical debt when they put off replacing laptops, continue supporting multiple versions of accounting software, delay rolling out the newer version of their operating system, etc. Eventually, the firm reaches a point where it cannot innovate without paying off some of that technical debt. Instead of making updates incrementally as time goes by, the firm finds itself needing to update everything at once.
Some level of technical debt is unavoidable. But one way to avoid or at least reduce the amount of technical debt is to ensure that your solution providers are not only evolving with the profession, but evolving in the same direction as your firm. If not, they might not be the best fit for your firm, no matter how well their products work for you today. The only way to find out is to have that conversation with your solution providers.
Is your current technology evolving for your CPA firm? If your technology and processes feel stuck in the past, we’d love to show you what Amelio can do. Request a demo with our Director of Business Development to learn more!