I received a call from a Chief Information Officer for an accounting firm a few days ago. He had come across Kays Harbor Technologies while he was searching for ways to improve his firm’s ability to meet client needs. When I asked him what he saw the problem to be, his response was one I’d heard in numerous forms from professionals in multiple industries.
He’d at least done his homework before coming to me. “We’re struggling to maximize return on investment while providing the service value demanded by our clients, who are facing the same challenges.”
Having researched the accounting industry recently for opportunities, I already knew my caller was facing what many other firms in the industry faced – the slow adoption of technological solutions in Social-Mobile-Analytic-Cloud (SMAC) technologies that could push their firm’s performance to the next level.
“Does your firm have a social media policy to manage its social media platforms in a unified and effective manner to draw in new business? Does your firm use its relationship with existing clients to highlight the knowledge and expertise of your own staff by allowing them to share articles that may be relevant or blogging about changes to regulatory requirements that could affect the audit process?”
Silence at the other end of the line, but it didn’t surprise me. According to a 2014 study I read from Wolters Kluwer, CCH, only 37% of firms were actively using social media as a way to draw in clients and communicate with current clients.
“Are your auditors and accountants using mobile devices in the field to speed up the acquisition of data from your clients? Are they using their mobile devices as effective communications platforms? Are they adjusting their testing methods to account for increased usage of mobile communication by clients?”
He claimed the firm had a plan for implementing changes in their mobile strategy, but it was still a year out. With 54% of firms leveraging mobile technologies, his firm was behind the curve and could be leaving their clients exposed, as audit standards have changed with the widespread business applications of mobile technology.
“How about using cloud computing to aggregate analytics from client documentation? How much time do your auditors waste traveling back and forth to the client to procure documents that could be submitted for review via a centralized web portal? More importantly, how much time are putting in at the front end of your client just gathering the basic documentation necessary to perform the audit? How much of this data could be analyzed and integrated into the audit plan during your planning meetings before your auditors even step through a client’s doors? Did you know there are solutions that we could implement that could allow much of the audit process to be performed virtually, allowing face-time with your clients to be that much more productive?”
With only 44% of firms effectively leveraging cloud technology to handle the analytic aspect of the audit process, it didn’t surprise me that his firm had budgeted for related projects but had not actually implemented solutions.
“What you have to understand is while industry adoption of these SMAC technologies might be low, it’s the leaders in the industry who are adopting them and seeing the most return on investment.” And to show him how much we could help him, I ran through the numbers from the Wolters Kluwer, CCH study.
Early adopters and firms it considered “pioneers” – those firms willing to immediately launch and experiment with new technological approaches – were in turn 7%-14% more profitable year over year than the industry overall. Early adopters and Pioneers also saw an increase in company value of 6%-7% over the industry average over a five year span. And where do these firms fall when it comes to leveraging SMAC technology? According to the Wolters Kluwer, CCH study, 92% of pioneer companies leveraged social media successfully, 93% have implemented a solid and effective cloud computing solution, and 89% have mobile strategies in play.
“You must help me convince the partners at my firm that we need to explore what Kays Harbor Technology can do for us.”
I assured him we could and set up a consultation meeting for next week so I could interact with the partners of the firm to discuss their needs.
Are you ready for your accounting firm to be a Pioneer? Contact Kays Harbor today and we can develop custom solutions that fit your firm’s needs.