A Look Inside the Boomer Technology Circles Surveys
by Chris Rochford, Technology Business Analyst
In my role at Boomer Consulting, Inc., one of my responsibilities is creating our annual surveys of the Boomer Technology Circles member firms.
Since we recently completed the process of collecting and compiling this year’s surveys, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on what we collect, why we gather this information, and the value it brings to our member firms and the profession as a whole.
We send out two surveys each year, one financial questionnaire and another to take inventory of the tools and technologies our member firms are using. Our members take the surveys online, and typically the results are only available to those who participate. However, today I’m going to share with you the financial metrics we shared at last year’s Boomer Technology Circles Summit.
Before we examine these metrics in more detail, it’s important to ensure we’re on the same page with a couple of definitions.
FTE stands for full-time equivalent, and it’s defined as a person working 2,080 hours. Simply take the total hours worked in your firm (by all personnel) and divide by 2,080. Then divide net revenue by the number of FTEs to determine revenue per FTE.
The definition of investment in technology has evolved and expanded over the years. Today, it typically includes hardware, software, communications, mobile devices, SaaS, telephones, copiers and scanners (as well as IT support personnel.)
Of course, these are averages for all of our member firms, and metrics are personal. The goal of sharing these with our members is continuous improvement. If a firm is at the lower end of the metrics, perhaps this provides the confidence and incentive to reexamine their pricing strategies. It might also change their attitude toward technology and training programs.
Firms at the top of the metrics can’t become complacent. Even the top firms struggle to attract and retain talent and face commoditization of traditional tax and assurance services. The key in collecting and sharing these metrics is to help our members learn how the best can get better.
The second component of our survey is the inventory reporting. Our members share the types of tools they’re using, and the solution providers they work with.
While our members can’t see specific financial information by firm, they can see which firms are using what. This has been very helpful in helping our members make effective business decisions, facilitating growth and remaining relevant.
It’s also a useful tool for leveraging the power of a peer network with solution providers. For instance, if we see several firms leave a particular solution provider, we can reach out to those members and ask why. Did they have a bad experience with the solution provider? Is another technology provider delivering more features? We can work with the vendor to help them understand what’s going on. It might be easy for a large vendor to dismiss the complaints of one user, but the collective voice of a large peer network is harder to ignore.
The questions we ask as a part of these surveys have been around for a long time. If there’s anything you think we should add or start tracking, let us know! And if you want to join a peer group of forward-thinking firm and IT leaders that share best practices and lessons learned to reduce risk, save money and improve their overall strategy for growth, apply for membership in the Boomer Technology Circles today.
As a Technology and Business Analyst for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Chris Rochford leverages a diverse background in web development and technology consulting. His role involves managing Boomer Consulting, Inc.’s internal technology, as well as researching how new and emerging technologies can be leveraged internally and for our external clients.
Before joining Boomer Consulting, Inc., Chris spent 15 years in tech, doing web development for state and local government agencies and commercial clients.