Why diving into tech won’t control accounting sector disruption
As political and economic uncertainty, shifting markets and regulators throw up disruption for both practice and company accountants, a tech vendor warns that jumping into technology is not the way to get ahead.
“It’s not about diving into the technology that’s on the market because it seems to be the trend, but really understanding what it is you need,” said Melanie Dowie, network development consultant at technology specialist Receipt Bank.
Speaking on an Accountancy Age webinar yesterday, she said: “there are a lot of great apps and software on the market around reporting and lots of awesome technology, but if you’re not getting the data in, on a real time basis, to spit it out at the other end to provide advisory, is it an investment you need to make right now?”
It was a sentiment echoed by Simon Michaels, CEO of business solutions at HW Fisher. Michaels noted the catch 22 situation that many accountants find themselves in, where political and economic disruption often leads to withheld or cautious investment – even if the technology is badly needed to survive turbulent times.
“Clients are starting to realise that if they don’t embrace and start implementing automation, they stand still,” he said. “There’s this ever-increasing need to deliver products and services at greater speeds, so automation is a must.
“Investors and business owners become more cautious about making investment, both externally and internally. The one thing that people need to consider is that technology is an investment, not a cost, and that sometimes gets lost in the financial mix,” he said.
But even with investment ready, firms should plan as much as possible and not underestimate the short term disruption a new technology will bring to business as usual.
“The two things that I always say to clients,” said Michaels, “[are] you must plan what you want. And secondly and most importantly, have a project manager attached to any project rollout, be it small, large, or anywhere in between. -Too many clients think their day-to-day accountants or advisors can fit it around a day job.”