As an accountant, you have most likely spent your fair share convincing clients of the conveniences and advantages of modern technology. But, what about within your own practice and to your own team members?
The only way for your firm to stay competitive is to take advantage of the new technology and digital tools available in order to increase productivity, save time, reduce errors and increase profits. But it can be difficult to do this without alienating certain team members, or creating an environment of constant frustration and confusion.
Joe Carufe of Two Roads explains how with purpose, care and strategy, you can still pursue excellence through the use of technology, while helpfully inviting your team into the process. Listed below are his ideas to help you navigate the transition more smoothly.
While technology certainly is a helpful and necessary part of our workplace, if we tried to utilize every new tech, app or gadget that came along claiming to be the “it” item, we would quickly lose our employees’ confidence and patience, not to mention the immense amount of time we would waste on failed product. If you want the benefits technology can offer, you must commit to putting the work into researching and testing before you offer it to your workplace.
Take the time not only to read reviews and talk to other people in your field, but also to try out the product yourself. Find out what problems it solves for you, what ways it saves you time and what headaches it adds. If you decide the benefits outweigh the inconveniences, you now have the first-hand experience to sell your team on why this product will work for your office.
If your leadership team is willing to get their hands dirty, taking the time to learn a new product and offer personal testimony to its benefits, your team will be much more likely to overcome the hurdle of the unknown and follow suit.Share on TwitterShare on Facebook
To quickly get your accounting team on board with modern technology, you should utilize the ones who already are immersed in it. Identify members of staff who are geared towards electronics and represent forward-thinking, quick learners, or are comfortable with change. Recruit them to try out some of the new products, ask for their feedback on how the products will integrate into your existing processes, and whether they will help you accomplish tasks quicker.
Be willing to change your mind based on feedback from this team, as they can help you see things that you may have initially overlooked. They can also be a positive voice for change by sharing the advantages and conveniences they are experiencing. Individuals who paint these changes as positive and exciting can make it easier for others to join in the excitement as they transition into something new.
Don’t get too trigger-happy and make the mistake of overhauling all your systems at once. This creates confusion and undermines the confidence of your team in their processes, often leading to mistakes and bad service to your clients. Technology should alleviate extra work, make you more efficient and, ultimately, make you the best you can be for your clients. If you change too much too fast, you will put an unhealthy demand on your team to fulfill the requirements of their job while learning a whole new mode of operation.
Instead, take the time to communicate well before you implement a change that is coming. Offer your team glimpses of the new product—begin offering your testimony from your experience in the product, start your “tech-savvy” team on it, and then roll it out to your whole office.
Give them several weeks to test out the product before making the switch to solely using the product. Offer lots of training, and provide an open space for your team to share with each other tips, tricks and pain points. By implementing one change at a time and doing so with care, you will build a team of confident experts who will, in turn, provide your clients with fantastic service.
It is absolutely vital that you have patience with members of staff who are struggling to adapt. There are most likely many on your team you hired for their excellent ability as a bookkeeper or an accountant, but they may not be tech experts. They still carry an extremely valuable piece that your firm needs, so give them time and space to transition in their own way.
Be prepared to hear from them that there may be some changes that aren’t necessarily going to serve overall. Ask them questions, discuss the benefits and downfalls of the technology, and give them space to share frustrations. You may be able to disrupt some preconceived notions, settle some fears and help them see some advantages to change. Allow them to take a little bit longer to fully transition to the new way of doing things, and offer them support and assistance while doing so.
Your goal must be to have a team with high morale, who deliver precise work efficiently, and provide your clients with excellent care and service. By utilizing the increasing amount of amazing technology out there, you can help your staff achieve this, but you must remember to do it in a way that is most beneficial for both your team and your clients.
Director, System Six Strategic Bookkeeping & Analysis
Joe Carufe is a Director at System Six Strategic Bookkeeping & Analysis, a firm specializing in customized bookkeeping, accounting, and controllership services. They strive to provide greater financial control, insight, and peace of mind for businesses in the Seattle area and throughout the country. At System Six, Joe focuses on strategy, leadership, technology, efficiency, and talent integration.