A lot has changed in the past year with IT for accountants and financial services – staff are working remotely, cyber attacks are rising – so tech performance must be on the boardroom agenda.
As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive disruption, with people having to work at home, while handling sensitive data and accounts.
IT for accountants needs strategic review if technology is to add value at every touchpoint; improving communications, supporting compliance, protecting cyber security and engendering trust and confidence.
But it’s easy to let business IT strategic planning slide because of time pressures – unless there is a structure in place.
IT for accountants – questions to consider
1. Q: Is your tech assisting staff and clients? Or is your business wasting valuable time and money on manual, repetitive tasks that could be automated?
Your IT should enable your people to be professional against the clock, wherever they’re working.
A glaring example of having to maintain a professional service under extreme time pressures has been year end. The filing of self-assessment tax returns has become an even greater task because clients are struggling due to the pandemic. HMRC still requires payment to be made by 31st January or penalties will be given to late payers, even though it has pushed back the deadline for filing until 28th February. How has your business coped with this?
2. Q: Are you able to gain insights into your business performance using the power of data at your fingertips? Can you utilise this data?
Compliance and performance – can you show off?
As a regulated industry, accountants have to show compliance and perform to certain standards. It’s about reputation and therefore your business’s ability to attract new clients, recruit staff and satisfy stakeholders. Auditors are still reeling from the Wirecard fiasco and other scandals and the pandemic has made it more difficult to grow the business in general. Is your IT something you’re proud of?
3. Q: Is the investment you’ve made into IT making your business more cyber secure and resilient?
Being cyber secure is about mitigating risk and being able to get the job done
Just this week, the Royal United Services Institute announced that fraud, including credit card, identity and cyber-fraud, has reached epidemic levels in the UK, as reported by the BBC amongst others.
- Cyber security is a significant issue when considering IT strategy, not least because a data breach can shut down a business.
- Did you know that your staff are the biggest loophole in cyber security, partly because they don’t receive awareness training – usually due to perceived cost and time constraints. When they’re working at home this risk multiplies because they may be using unsecured networks, or they might be distracted into clicking on malicious email or website links that look perfectly legitimate.
- The good news is that revolutionary and cost-effective ways of detecting and mitigating threats to businesses are becoming more mainstream, including simple cyber security awareness training for staff – even when they’re working from home.
In order for the vision and goals of your business to be achieved, technology must be a mainstay on the agenda. Business IT strategic planning at board level will pay dividends across the organisation.
If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised here – or want to know more – please contact us on the form below.