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Reflect, Reassess and Reset

How well has your firm’s technology supported your team members and clients over the past two years? Based on our conversations with clients, there have been some amazing wins, and the IT teams are getting much-deserved credit and recognition for all of their hard work. Still, virtually every firm has identified at least a few areas that could use some improvement.

If your firm needs to invest in new technologies and rework processes to support new services or new ways of delivering client service, you’re not alone.

In May 2020, AppDynamics interviewed 1,000 IT professionals worldwide to ask how the pandemic impacted their business continuity efforts. Eighty-one percent said COVID-19 created the most significant technology pressure for their organization that they’ve ever experienced. Furthermore, 88% say that delivering a digital customer experience is now the priority. The trouble accounting firm leaders and their IT teams have is often where to start.

We’ve helped hundreds of firms prioritize IT goals to support overall strategy. While the process we go through during those engagements is too in-depth to cover here fully, the following questions should help you get started reflecting, reassessing and resetting your firm’s technology.

Is it scalable?

What did your firm do last year that you’re no longer trying to do this year? What new strategic priorities has the firm identified for the coming year? Ideally, the technologies your firm invests in will be able to scale up or down as needs change.

For example, before the pandemic, many firms invested in technology with the expectation that perhaps 20 to 30 team members would be working from home at any time. Very quickly, they had 100% of their staff working from home. Can your current technology support that? Or is it time to start looking for a solution that can?

What are your clients looking for?

How do you collect documents from clients and deliver returns and financial statements while your team is working remotely? What can you do to improve that situation in the future?

We heard a lot about how firms managed to collect and deliver paperwork while their offices were essentially closed. They came up with some creative solutions in a pinch, but now is the time to think about making your processes fully digital.

Even if your firm has a client portal, consider whether that portal delivers on the customer experience front. Depending on your solution, you might have a very low adoption rate if the technology isn’t easy to use for clients. Sometimes that can be overcome with better client communication and training. Otherwise, you might need to consider tools in which the client experience isn’t an afterthought.

Sometimes, we must do whatever it takes to serve clients and get the work done. But I hope that firms are now taking some time to discover technologies and processes that allow clients to easily and securely share information.

Do you have enough of the right equipment?

In the past, many firms purchased desktop computers for their team members and had a pool of laptops and other equipment they could “check out” when they needed to work remotely. That arrangement makes it difficult for all staff members to have the hardware to work remotely.

Other firms have employees use their own devices while working from home. It can be difficult to ensure security on personal devices, and many employees might not have webcams or other necessary equipment. Equipment pools or using your own device might be fine for a few days here and there, but it doesn’t support working from home long-term.

If you haven’t already, seriously consider investing in laptops, docking stations and other necessary equipment for all employees.

Do you have enough licenses?

Licensing is another area where firms have cut costs by having employees share licenses for software, VPNs and more. This isn’t a workable solution when many of your team will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future.

Whether your team has returned to the office full-time, on a hybrid basis, or continues to work remotely, you need to think strategically. Don’t get complacent when things quiet down.

You successfully got your team up and running virtually. Now is the time to reflect on what went right and what could be improved. Reassess your firm’s needs and goals and ensure you’re adapting to a new way of working. This will help prepare your firm for whatever the future brings.


Do you need help getting firm leaders in alignment on IT strategy?

Boomer Technology Consulting can help you prioritize IT projects and ensure they support the firm’s overall vision and strategic plan. Complete an interest form today to begin fast-tracking your firm’s success.


Marc Staut, Shareholder and Chief Innovation & Information Officer at Boomer Consulting, Inc., helps meet the growing needs of CPA firms by leveraging his experience to provide strategic technology assessments, planning, visioning and coaching. He feels that “technology should be an enabler – something that’s approachable, aligned with and integral to the success of each firm.” Marc is a regular speaker, author and panelist on technology in the accounting profession, cloud computing, mobile technology, leadership and vision. 

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