Accounting is a competitive profession and it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon – so your firm needs to work hard to stay ahead of the rest.
How you respond to the challenge of competition from other practices and the increase in client demands will determine your firm’s success or failure.
According to Sage’s Practice of Now research, which sought opinions from accountants worldwide, 40% say they feel less confident about the prospects for their practice compared with 12 months ago. Just 28% feel more confident about their prospects. 67% feel the profession is more competitive than ever, and only 7% disagree.
A key solution is to ensure your practice is as up to date as possible. Take a hard look at the way things are done, and seek to optimize and improve. Client services should always be in the line of vision.
In short, a good practice is one where everything is seamlessly connected. So how can you make that happen for your firm? You need to give a little attention to certain areas of the way you work – and to the technologies you use. Follow these three steps to modernize your business:
Step 1 – Understand the role various technologies play
With so much innovation taking place – from cloud-based accounting software to artificial intelligence and automation – it’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused about where certain technologies can have the biggest impact. Investing in the right type of technology will be extremely beneficial for your practice.
It’s vital that your firm puts an emphasis on education so you can build an understanding of exactly what different technologies do, the benefits they provide, and the processes they can improve.
Step 2 – Focus on your business goals
When it comes to digital transformation, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t exist.
For long and short-term goals to be achieved, firms will have particular technological gaps that must be addressed.
In order to get the most out of their investments and help them progress to the next stage of digital maturity, solutions have to be specifically chosen with these technological needs – and the firm’s wider objectives in mind. For example, your firm might want to enable its accountants to access client data when working remotely, or move away from face-to-face meetings to a greater reliance on remote videoconferencing.
Whatever they may be, focusing on individual business goals – from increasing compliance to building new revenue streams – will provide structure to digital transformation strategies and help make sure you focus your attention on the right solutions.
Step 3 – Stay one step ahead
New technologies become outdated faster than ever before and this trend is likely to continue. You have to avoid concentrating on what’s happening in the present and try to take more of a future-gazing approach. This may seem like a challenge but it’s essential for any firm wanting to remain ahead of competition. Thinking about what technological developments are coming next and how they may impact current ways of working will be key.
Equally, as important will be evaluating how future innovations could be used to improve the way your clients are serviced and anticipate future needs. After all, using technology to stay ahead of client demands will be one of the most effective ways of remaining competitive in the years to come.
But it’s important to remember that adopting this visionary mindset can’t be the responsibility of just one person. Encourage the entire workforce to always have one eye on the future and be constantly thinking about how to move to smarter, more efficient ways of working.
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