Accelerating Cloud Strategy Execution: A Conversation with CPA Tech Leaders
Post by: Jim Boomer, CEO
While we aren’t yet in a “post-COVID world,” many long-term technologic, economic, and industry ramifications have already become apparent. Forward-thinking firms recognize this as the time to accelerate, and even expand, their cloud platforms and better align technology with shifts in their business strategy.
Recently, I had a chance to chat with three IT leaders in the accounting profession to discuss the increasing urgency firms are feeling and how they can use the cloud to elevate the importance of IT to the firm’s productivity and bottom line.
In an hour-long webinar, Don Logan, CIO of Friedman LLP, Kate Krupey, Principal Consultant at CoreBlue Advisory, and Bill Sorenson, VP of Strategy at Netgain, discussed the initiatives that firms should prioritize in the current environment and how the cloud can help. Here are a few of the best takeaways from the event.
The cloud is a differentiator
Logan noted that firms whose critical applications were already in the cloud were mostly able to continue operations without too much interruption, while firms that weren’t in the cloud struggled with business continuity.
The pandemic has had a lot of negative impacts in many areas, but some good will come from it, as well, if more firms recognize the importance of the cloud for disaster recovery and business continuity.
Krupey agreed that by now, even firms with on-premises technology have figured out how to get by, but for the long haul, more firms will be looking for ways to make supporting remote workers more manageable. “They’re going to be supporting people working remotely 100% for the foreseeable future – that’s a new challenge,” Krupey said. “Moving to the cloud will free support teams up by taking infrastructure off their backs.”
Tech initiatives paused, but not for long
In his firm, Logan says IT put new projects on hold for a couple of weeks while the team helped people get set up in their home offices and waited to see what kind of questions or needs people would come up with. But by the end of March, the firm was able to reconnect on existing projects and even add a few more on their plates.
He estimates that between eliminating commute times and avoiding necessary distractions at the office, his IT team is saving several hours a day of unproductive time. They’re using that new capacity to close more tickets and accelerate their progress on projects.
Krupey noted that some firms might table more forward-thinking innovation projects, such as robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence in audits. For now, they’re working on issues that need to be dealt with right away, such as ensuring data security supporting their remote workforce over the long term.
Still, the leading firms see this time as an opportunity to double down on the strategic projects that will allow them to leapfrog over the competition when we come out of this.
Disaster recovery and business continuity planning are crucial
In our Boomer Technology Circles, disaster recovery and business continuity tend to be hot topics after a major event, but people tend to forget about these plans when times are good – especially if the firm isn’t located in an impacted area.
With COVID, every firm in the country went through a business continuity and disaster recovery event. “That’s tough for some firms to grasp,” Sorensen said, “but as an industry, the experience has stepped up our ability to recover from the next thing.”
I really enjoyed getting a chance to talk to these IT leaders and share their insights with the profession. Having a peer network to share ideas and talk through issues is always important. It’s even more critical when faced with the unprecedented challenges we’re seeing in the profession right now. If you’re interested in connecting with other firm and IT leaders in the accounting profession, the Boomer Technology Circles are an excellent way to do it. Apply now, and we’ll schedule a time to talk with you about the Circles and whether you’re a good fit for this powerful peer network.
Jim Boomer, CEO of Boomer Consulting, Inc., is an expert on managing technology within an accounting firm. He serves as the director of the Boomer Technology Circles, The Advisor Circle and the CIO Circle. He also acts as a strategic planning and technology consultant and firm adviser to CPA firms across the country. Accounting Today called him a “thought leader who can help accountants create next-generation firms.” Jim is a prolific writer with a monthly column in The CPA Practice Advisor and has been published in a number of industry publications including Accounting Today, Accounting Web, the International Group of Accounting Firms and several state society publications.