CPA firms rely heavily on technology applications to drive their business operations. But with so many applications across multiple departments, it's easy to become burdened with an unnecessarily complex technology stack that leads to inefficiencies and redundancies.
In this situation, replacing major technology applications may be high on the priority list. The goal is to reduce complexity and consolidate applications across the organization to improve productivity and streamline workflows. But you also want to ensure that any changes you make work for ALL users in the firm—not just the core user group.
Identifying redundancies and inefficiencies
Analyze the firm's technology stack and look for redundancies and inefficiencies. Often, businesses accumulate multiple software solutions that perform similar tasks or have overlapping features, leading to siloed information and inefficiencies.
Suppose you can identify overlapping features and consolidate applications that perform similar functions under one software. This process has the added benefit of decreasing the learning curve for users while reducing the cost of maintaining and supporting duplicate applications.
Mapping out your departmental and process needs
Replacing a major technology application—a customer relationship management (CRM) system, document management system, time and billing, or even your tax solution—can impact every department within your firm. So it's crucial to map out every department and process the change will affect.
Your primary focus might be on the department that utilizes the technology the most and how it affects their daily workflow and processes. But it also helps to map out where the platform sits in your overall application architecture.
For example, replacing a customer relationship management (CRM) application obviously impacts business development but can also affect marketing, scheduling meetings, project management, and more.
Understanding the touchpoints clearly helps you know which users will be impacted so you can ensure any new solution you choose will work for them.
How can you get that understanding? A good place to start can be a simple firmwide survey. Ask everyone in your firm whether the software impacts their role. The results of this survey can lead you to the primary and secondary users. Interviews, workflows and automations will help you define the requirements for the replacement system.
Getting user buy-in for application replacement
Adopting new technology can be met with resistance from users. So understanding how users feel about existing technology and how a new solution will help can alleviate (or at least reduce) pushback.
Often, users resist change because they don't feel their input has been taken into account or don't perceive significant benefits resulting from the change.
However, people may welcome new technology that alleviates pain points and reduces their workload.
Getting user feedback before you begin replacing the application will help you identify those concerns, which can help inform your change management process and make the transition as smooth as possible.
Simplifying your firm's technology stack by replacing major technology applications can be daunting. However, its benefits, such as streamlining workflows, increasing productivity, reducing support requirements and improving user adoption, make it worth the time and effort. To make this process successful, it's vital to map out every department and process that the change will impact, identify redundancies and inefficiencies and get buy-in for the new solutions. Achieving all these can lead to a more efficient and productive organization that adds value and improves customer satisfaction.
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As Technology Manager 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.