IT advice: accountants play key role

BuyIT programme director Peter Duschinsky said the survey highlightedconducted by Harris Research Centre. The English ICA participated in a parallel ‘intermediaries’ survey of 400 IT advisers and suppliers, writes Simon Robinson. the importance of accountants in IT decision-making. They influenced the purchases of 25% of the survey respondents.

‘We found that in general people go to the IT vendor or reseller for IT advice, and in many cases the next point of contact was their accountant,’ said Duschinsky.

However, companies that relied on accountants for IT advice tended to use less advanced technology, and were less likely to use it as a sophisticated sales or marketing tool.

‘The message that we would like to give out to accountants is that they musn’t forget that IT advice is not just about efficiency and control, but about using technology in innovative ways,’ he added.

‘The problem is that many SMEs don’t actually know their own strengths as a business and, what is more, accountants don’t tend to tell them.

They look at how to strengthen their business through the back office.

Many companies are being sold efficiency as the holy grail.’

Instead, Duschinsky said competitive advantages came from deploying technology to improve their communication with customers and their front-end business processes. ‘Accountants musn’t ignore this when they start looking at IT spend.’

He also emphasised the need to encourage clients to make adequate provision for training. ‘If accountants are going to help a client put in a system, they must make sure the staff have the training, because the benefits come from using the system, not from installing it,’ said Duschinsky.

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