The digitalisation of the accountancy sector means clients and prospects (and new recruits) expect firms to be using the best accounting software and technology, not creaking legacy systems or, worse, pushing paper around.
You may think your firm has ‘adequate’ accounting software and tech
– and you may be so busy you don’t consider this to be one of your priorities right now. Perhaps you are reasonably happy that you have the tech and staff to keep up with or beat your competition.
But even if you take ‘keeping up with competitors’ out of the equation, is your business ready to face the next year, let alone ‘the future’, with increasing energy bills, a recruitment crisis and the pressing need to be more productive and efficient? How would you answer if asked the following questions:
Is your practice:
- Suffering from periods of downtime or disrupted work because of computer systems not working smoothly or properly?
- Struggling to let staff work from home because of loss of productivity concerns?
- Secure against a data breach – and are you sure you can demonstrate this to your clients?
If you are not 100% on these questions you won’t be alone – but regulated industries tend not to want to shout about that!
Does your accounting firm lack the ‘will and skill’ factor?
According to the government’s Cyber security breaches survey 2022, while there is less complacency among UK businesses when it comes to cyber threats than in previous years, there remains a lack of both will and skill around organisational cyber security. They report firms not taking a formal approach to incident management, with fewer than one in five businesses having a formal incident management plan.
Furthermore, the survey found that despite cyber security being seen as a high priority area, qualitative research found there is a lack of technical knowhow expertise within smaller organisations and at senior level within larger organisations. It reported: ‘They tend to take a reactive approach, viewing investment in cyber security as a cost rather than an investment, being intimidated by terminology and lacking awareness of strategic risks posed to an organisation.’
This might not be you but if anything we’ve said so far is ringing any bells …
Here’s what can be done about it
1. There are many benefits to assessing where your firm is positioned currently in terms of its technology and infrastructure, agreeing priorities and having an IT strategy and plan to take you forward. You can do this inhouse but you may find it helpful to enlist some external experts who can work with you and give impartial advice on which services and apps will really work for your individual firm (and who won’t be vested in one particular brand).
2. Nurture a ‘culture of tech literacy’ in your accountancy practice. For example, consider whether your staff need any training in using the tech well, so that they feel empowered and productive. They should certainly be offered regular cyber security awareness training, which might be watching a short video snippet and answering a question for example. And your staff should also have an understanding of changes to GDPR law since 2018.
Furthermore, shout about your ‘tech literacy’ and investment in IT in your marketing, because new recruits prefer forward-thinking firms who are not afraid of using tech as a tool to improve the lives of their staff and clients.
If you’re still not convinced – we get it. Not everyone gets excited about these things but that’s where recruiting people or an IT support company with the skill set and knowledge, who are engaged and motivated is important. Because the online world, with advances in data analytics and AI and new software, is changing the face of the accounting industry and will impact it even more as time goes on, as will cyber security concerns.
On that note, look out for our next blog, which shows you what can happen if your firm suffers a cyber security attack – and you may be surprised at some of the outcomes …
If you’d like to contact us about anything in this article, please use the form below or call 0330 124 3599.