How Small Accounting Firms Can Tackle IT Decisions
Small accounting firms in Vancouver, BC, and the Lower Mainland are struggling with many of the same issues accounting firms across the continent are struggling with. If you are running your own firm, you are likely dealing with the same questions. How do you tackle IT decisions? How do you leverage the current tech tools to further your business goals? How do you choose the right technology to begin with?
There are answers to these questions—you just need to know where to look for those answers. While doing your own research is important, in the end, you are better served by doing the same thing you urge your clients to do, and that is to seek out professional guidance.
Outsourced IT service providers that specialize in accounting technologies are the best resource you have for getting a clear idea of where you are and where you need to go when it comes to tech for your business.
Tips to Facilitate Better Accounting IT Decisions
1. Be open to suggestions from knowledgeable professionals.
You and your team know accounting inside and out. After all, you have probably been doing this a while and have seen a wide variety of situations and circumstances when taking care of your clients. When you consider that the teams at IT service companies are much like your team—just with a focus on IT instead of accounting—you can see how they would probably be well-equipped to identify potential issues and offer effective solutions. But, just like you have found with your accounting clients, not everyone is open to suggestions.
You can guide a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Some clients will listen, some won’t. You want to be the kind of client that will be open to suggestions. In the end, you are still the final decision-maker, so you do not have to give up control.
2. Recognize that technology is improving every day.
It is very easy to fall into the mindset that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But when it comes to technology, the rate of change and improvement is often fast and sometimes even overwhelming. It can be tempting to shut out the possibilities these changes offer simply to avoid feeling out of your element or feeling like you need to make fundamental changes to how you do business. However, you need to expect change when it comes to technology and be willing to consider adopting such changes if you want to remain competitive.
As stated in the Accounting Operations and Technology Survey, “Tax software is a very competitive market and it has become relatively easy to migrate client files from one vendor to another … firms should evaluate the options available today in tax software and the integration with client portals, ease of updating, speed of return processing, client management and workflow.”
3. Know that you can choose how much IT help you need.
One of the great things about choosing an outsourced IT services provider is that you get to choose how much help you want and need. These companies understand that different clients have different IT needs. Some prefer to have their IT services company only come in when something is broken and fix it. Some use the IT services provider to conduct a survey of their accounting firm and provide a roadmap for improving the technology at the firm. Still, others decide to have the IT provider handle everything—including updating tech, training the team, monitoring systems, conducting repairs and more—all for a flat monthly fee.
4. Think of technology as a tool to improve your business.
There is so much hype around technology that it can be tempting to make assumptions that are not warranted—like that it will eliminate all accounting jobs. But, as Rob Nance said on Macpa, “…despite advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and automated accounting technology, the vast majority of small business owners (72%) will continue to rely on the human consultation of their accountant.”
Technology is not something to feel threatened by—it is something to be used to improve your business.