Three Ways To Increase Clarity & Confidence in Your Firm’s Technology Strategy
Our Solutions Advisor Team has dozens of conversations with CPA firms each week. These conversations are focused on understanding the needs of firms and how we can best help them solve their problems. We do our best to determine if our services will meet their needs. If we cannot meet their needs, we will connect them to another consultant or company in the profession.
As you can imagine, firms are experiencing a wide variety of dangers, opportunities and strengths today. Yet there are certain times of year we hear more about certain issues. Right now, we are getting many phone calls inquiring about Technology Reviews and Technology Consulting.
If those services have been on your mind, I’d like to share with you the top three things firms ask us about as they consider selecting a Technology Consultant.
# 1 - Firms want their technology consultant to be vendor and software agnostic
One of the biggest technology consulting worries firms have is that their Technology Consultant won’t provide them true third-party, unbiased guidance and recommendations. With all the costs and investment firms are making in technology, it’s imperative that the advice and recommendations they receive from a Technology Consultant is based on their firm’s unique mix of business goals and technology needs rather than “kick-back” deals received from pushing one service or software.
When interviewing technology consultants, be sure to ask about their relationship with vendors and software providers. Ask if they receive compensation for referring firms to them and if they receive compensation for hardware the firm might purchase as a result of the consultant’s recommendation.
The right technology consultant understands that every firm’s situation is unique, so their solutions should be unique as well. With no financial ties to specific vendors or software providers, they are 100% free to act in the best interest of the firm and ensure that each firm the consultant works with gets exactly what they need for their particular situation.
#2 - Firms want their technology consultant to know the right technology providers and have strong relationships with them
As the profession continues to rapidly evolve, keeping up with all the various software companies and technology providers becomes more difficult. Some providers have been around for decades while others seem to appear and disappear over the course of 12 to 18 months. Navigating this well is crucial for firms having a responsive, yet long-term technology plan and strategy.
Above that, is the real need for Technology Consultants to have strong relationships with technology and software providers. Like all business relationships, they are more valuable when viewed not as a transactional relationship, but one of trust and collaboration. A Technology Consultant with these relationships can fast track a firm significantly.
#3 - Firms want their technology consultant to have IT leadership experience in a CPA firm
A good Technology Consultant must have knowledge and experience in many different areas. Among those already listed in this article, a few additional necessary skill sets are:
translating technology to business,
facilitating different viewpoints across different levels, and
generating buy-in for a single vision.
Doing this requires the Technology Consultant to understand the nuances at play.
While it is possible to be a strong Technology Consultant without having been a CIO/IT Leader in a CPA firm, having that experience under their belt is an indication that they understand the various firm dynamics at play. If they haven’t been a CIO/IT Leader in a CPA firm, ask them how long they’ve worked in accounting technology and their knowledge of IT visioning, road mapping and governance.
Selecting the right Technology Consultant for your firm is an important decision. Your firm needs to have clarity and confidence in its technology strategy. Remember to consider these three factors the next time you are interview a potential Technology Consultant. If you start your search process with a clear understanding of what makes a technology consulting engagement successful, you’re more likely to find someone with the skills, relationships and experience you need.
Jon Hubbard, Director of Business Development at Boomer Consulting, Inc. is certified as both a Kolbe™ Consultant and a Five Star Client Service Consultant. He is an enthusiastic speaker with experience providing leadership for multiple facets of BCI’s overall sales, marketing and communications strategy.
Jon thrives as a careful planner and strategic thinker. He is a talented researcher who is skillful in translating knowledge into strategy, and he has studied and implemented marketing strategies focused on websites, social media and digital communications.