A study by the American Institute of CPAs found that 92% of CPAs said they are not future-ready. What keeps accounting firm executives up at night? When it comes to the health of the business, what do they really care about? Obviously, it’s a loaded question, but there are business elements common to this sector that drive success. Many of these elements speak to the importance of future-proofing the firm to stay current and competitive?
Companies can swim against the tide at their peril, but the most successful companies embrace the change. The key to minimizing the risk that disruption inherently poses is in future-proofing the organization. And one way to guard against disruption risk is with information management technology.
Here you’ll find four ways information management technology can help prepare accounting firms for a faster, tech-enabled future.
Make Information Security A Fortress
To meet security requirements, accounting firms need a flexible information management environment like M-Files that not only adapts to ever-changing regulatory demands, but also can be configured to meet the security demands for each customer.
Companies need systems and procedures in place to ensure that information-access permissions are only given to relevant people with zero-chance of information leak. From an IT perspective, these systems must be easy to maintain, update, and adapt as changes occur — at either the user-permission level (a person leaves the company and permissions need to be changed) or the regulatory level (the regulation changes requiring fundamental changes to the system).
Minimize Labour-Intensive Tasks
In managing accounting for their clients, firms traditionally encounter several repetitive, manual tasks — from data-entry to document filing and everything in between. If a firm can automate many of these tasks through technology, they can free up time and resources to focus on strategic services and increase margins within fixed price, managed services, or subscription services.
Automate Client Services & Business Processes
The secret to thriving in the new world of accounting lies in automation, as in other industries. By automating client services in the form of self-service portals and information-sharing solutions, firms can reduce the time spent searching for information and provide a better experience for clients. It all leads to increased margins on existing services by freeing up personnel to focus on value-added tasks.
Opportunities to automate can also be found in standard business processes, like contract management. By enabling workflows with technology, contracts can be managed efficiently from drafting to signature. Automation can also help streamline back-office processes like employee onboarding, accounts payable and other otherwise mundane (and manual) office functions.
Information Management As A Fast-Track To Customer Experience Improvement
The expectations of financial services buyers are changing. They expect better interactions, key information on demand and more efficient ways to manage engagement data. Agile accounting firms can delight their customers with a seamless experience, made possible by an information management strategy.
Accounting firms manage a ton of information across vendors, employees, contractors, and clients. They need to aggregate that information within the context of a client engagement process to be more efficient. With multiple systems of record, data can tend to be strewn across multiple repositories — network folders, CRM, ERP, SharePoint, practice management systems, employees’ laptops… the list of disconnected data silos goes on and on.
The firms that can enable their workforce to find and discover relevant information quickly will realize a huge impact on employee productivity and a better customer experience. Smart companies are also utilizing information management platforms like M-Files as a central repository that feeds into a client portal, rendering engagement information available to customers on-demand on a 24/7 basis.
Winning & Retaining Business Rests on a Firm’s Ability to Improve Operational Efficiency.
The most important driver for any business lies in their ability to win and retain business. For accounting firms, their ability to create operational efficiencies serve as differentiators that propel them in the marketplace.
Future-proofing the business with information management solutions inherently contributes to a more efficient workplace in many ways
Accounting companies that shift their information management paradigm with a configurable platform like M-Files are in a much better position to withstand — and even take advantage of — the changing industry landscape.