Using Technology as a Competitive Advantage: Accounting Firms

We continue our series, “Using Technology as a Competitive Advantage” examining how different vertical sectors are positioning technology differently in 2022 and those emerging technologies that will play an increasing, yet different, role in the spectrum of business arenas.

In today’s world, there is no doubt that the use of Information technology alters the relationship between competitive scope and competitive advantage. Creating a competitive advantage is a vital part of any firm’s success, but more than creating a competitive advantage, is the ability to sustain it.

In the Financial Services sector, accounting firms are unique in what they do and the services they offer. They also tend to remain risk-averse, taking a measured approach to just about any undertaking, something that contributes to their reputational success. This conservative approach, however, includes the introduction of innovative technology, presenting a missed opportunity to set up greater efficiency, security and convenience to their clients and employees alike. Today’s employees and clientele are tech savvy and quite adapted to transacting almost everything on their cell phone. They are security aware and conscious of those who are slow to adopt the latest technology solutions & conveniences.

Staying competitive and sustaining that edge requires a technology roadmap that aligns the firm’s resources with the expectations of clients (existing and aspirational), employees and regulators. Breaking these down we see the different perspectives that all orbit the benefits technology has to offer.

Client Expectations

The rules of customer service and customer expectations were re-written by Apple, Amazon and Google, among others in the tech industry. Clients of accounting & CPA firms have no patience for supplying or entering the same information multiple times, sending information insecurely, finding it difficult to get in touch with their accountant or downloading strange applications to their phones, computers or tablets. Today’s clients want a straightforward, secure means to provide data, access their data, and transact business with their accountant when they need to. Absent this, firms risk losing clients to a competing firm that offers it.

Employee Expectations in The Workplace

Any discussion about employee expectations today requires recognition that the global pandemic accelerated a trend that was already in progress. Now, in 2022, employees expect technology conveniences in all aspects of their lives, and they expect to use contemporary tools to perform their work duties, collaborate with others, conduct research, and complete administrative tasks. CPAs, especially those just starting their career, want meaningful work that truly helps them learn, rather than mundane, manual tasks. Things that were “nice to have” just five years ago are now requirements for employees.

There is a world of innovative technology available to accounting firms, both large and small, in 2022. Not all of it is a good fit for every firm and certainly all technology solutions require a “fit-for-purpose” approach, but open consideration of the available tools and a trusted IT Partner will allow any accounting firm to adopt what is right for them and work it in the most efficient way.


Use Specialized Accounting Packages

Today’s software packages manage the bulk of the tedious accounting work, from input to output, reducing the risk of non-compliance with tax laws or procedural errors that can damage an accounting firm’s reputation. These packages can display information in a variety of formats that non-accountant clients can easily understand and appreciate.

Adopt The Cloud

Cloud technology offers accounting firms the ability to centralize their data, keep it accessible, secure and efficient while removing the worry and expense associated with keeping physical servers. Because the cloud is always available, accounting firms can access information and do important work from their own offices, from their clients’ offices, from airports and hotels, whenever and wherever makes the most sense or convenient for the clients.


Improve Service to Clients Today’s technology allows accounting firms to simplify, speed up and enhance their interaction with clients in ways that make it much easier and more convenient for them.



 

Roark Tech Services is the perfect partner for accountants and accounting firms that want to take advantage of technology opportunities. We understand both the world of accounting and the world of technology and specialize in finding the best ways to bring them together for the immediate and long-term benefit of our clients. We are experts in the field and are uniquely qualified to help small businesses stay safe & competitive. Always consult with us first.  If you don’t have an IT Partner that you can trust to give you the right support and advice, we’d love to help. Contact us.


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