Accountants continue to incorporate new technologies and automation into their practices at an incredible rate as they seek out greater efficiencies and deeper digital insights. However, despite significant investments, many firms are underutilising technology, which can affect their return on investment (ROI) and the firm’s overall efficiency.
Why are accountancy firms failing to make the most of technology?
Having supported hundreds of accountancy practices with their implementation and use of the latest software, this is what we have learned about underutilising technology and its functions:
Lack of training and understanding
One of the most prevalent reasons for underutilising technology is a lack of comprehensive training and understanding.
Complex accounting tools require appropriate training to be used effectively. However, firms often overlook this crucial step after investing in new software.
The lack of proper training means that employees may struggle to grasp all the features and functions, leading to decreased productivity. The other common issue is that part of the business adopts the software, and another part does not. This causes problems for the wider team who have to work more than one way and can lead to the adoption of the software totally failing.
Impact on ROI: An improperly trained workforce will struggle to leverage the full potential of the technology, diminishing its intended benefits and overall ROI.
Resistance to change
Change is challenging, and it is human nature to stick to familiar territory. Implementing new technology usually means disrupting well-established routines and processes, causing discomfort among some employees and practice leaders.
This resistance to change can lead to employees using only the most basic features of a new system or reverting to old methods.
Impact on ROI: Resistance to change hinders the use of technology, leading to a decrease in the expected efficiency gains.
Inadequate support from technology vendors
At times, the problem does not lie with the accountants but with the technology vendors. Insufficient after-sales support, unclear user manuals, or unresponsive customer service can discourage users from exploring the tool’s full capabilities.
Equally, many firms get the basic way to operate the software right but never progress beyond that. There are sometimes just too many features to remember at the start and so progress and adoption are slower, due to a lack of support.
At MyWorkpapers, we have an industry-leading client success team, who have a fantastic track record of helping users achieve more with our software through the various support membership packages we offer, which guarantee ongoing development and progression.
Impact on ROI: Poor support from technology vendors hampers the effective implementation and utilisation of the technology, thereby reducing the benefits of any investment.
Absence of a technology strategy
Organisations may invest in technology without a well-formulated strategy. Purchasing technology for its own sake, rather than to meet specific operational needs, can lead to its underutilisation as employees do not perceive its practical benefits or applicability in their daily tasks.
Impact on ROI: The lack of a technology strategy often results in suboptimal investments, where the technology fails to align with the firm’s needs and goals.
Failing to upgrade or update
Even after successful implementation, technology requires regular updates and occasional upgrades to stay relevant and efficient.
Failing to update or upgrade software can result in its diminished functionality over time. Systems connected via the cloud avoid this issue as they do not require updates or upgrades to existing platforms, as these are managed automatically on-platform.
Impact on ROI: Without regular updates, the software’s usefulness decreases over time. This depreciation reduces the operational benefits and what the software can achieve for a practice.
Technology, when utilised correctly, can revolutionise accounting practices, improving accuracy, efficiency, and overall productivity.
However, the barriers we have identified not only undermine the initial investment but also negatively impact the potential ROI.
By addressing these challenges proactively, accounting firms can optimise the use of their technology investments, thereby improving their processes and outcomes – achieving more from their investment.
Could you be achieving more with your accounting technology? Find out how we can implement our cloud-based working papers in your practice effectively so that you get a good ROI. Get in touch today.