Free Your Firm From Outdated Software
For frank and fearlessly independent technology advice you need...
Tech Strategy Review
Hi, my name is Alan FitzGerald,
and I have worked in practice management software for nearly two decades. APS, Solution 6, Thomson Reuters – I've been there.
Running a large accounting firm is hard. I have been inside the smallest to the largest firms across Australia and talk to many of these firms regularly. So many are frustrated with their outdated software and yet the thought of moving makes them feel paralysed.
The same issues keep coming up.
A Critical Decision
You know how critical the right tools are to performing well. You also know that changing practice management software is not for the faint hearted. It is a critical decision where the wrong tool can cost a firm hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost productivity.
It is little wonder that firms put off the inevitable and let productivity suffer.
A Lack of Information
Accounting software vendors will always tell you their products will do what you need them to do – if not now then certainly very soon! It is almost impossible for an accountant to know the real story. Priorities change and yesterday’s promise is soon replaced by another.
Are you investing in a strong return on investment or a white elephant?
There have never been so many options for firms looking to improve their operations. The temptation to pick a single suite rarely delivers the best result. Billing and management requirements can vary depending on the nature of the firm and the engagement.
Do you or your partners have time to sort through all the options yourselves?
I began advising firms on their software strategy in 2015 because of an "honesty gap" between what software vendors were promising and what firms were receiving. What firms really need is frank and fearless advice from a vendor-independent perspective.
Only then can you have confidence in implementing a system that will give you the profits that 100% cloud accounting firms are already generating.
Benefits from a Tech Strategy Review
The secret to building a more efficient, more profitable firm
1. Achieve your goals
Reduce debtor days, communicate easily and quickly with clients and reduce those overheads. Link existing and new systems with cloud software tools to create a level of interaction previously not possible. The Tech Strategy Review can also develop existing services for specific industries and recommend targeted marketing to win new clients.
2. Do more, faster
Discover how your current infrastructure places a large demand on staff, especially if spread across multiple offices. By following the Tech Strategy Review your firm will be introduced to a range of solutions that improve billing processes, team resourcing, automate processes and more.
3. Surprise and delight your clients
Every client wants their advisor to respond faster and manage their cashflow. Only cloud software allows firms to proactively manage clients. Clients also want advisors to proactively tell them what is going to happen, not what has already happened. You cannot do that with legacy systems.
4. Finally, happy staff
Distributed workforces in firms are increasingly common – either overseas or in regional areas. The resource management of this work has its own set of challenges. By giving your team the support they need with the right systems, you will increase not only your profitability but your staff retention too.
1. Goal review
Do you know where is your firm headed? How do you plan to make money over the next five to 10 years? Will the forecast reduction in compliance work impact you?
The first step in our process is a series of individual interviews with the executive team on the firm’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. If you are still refining your strategy this step along with a Tech Review will help you understand what is possible and reveal how other firms are responding. Once a set of agreed goals is established, we will recommend and match the solutions to support your efforts at achieving them and guide you through the evaluation and buying process.
Only included in Silver and Gold plans.
2. Team interviews
When staff are burdened with poor systems and processes it's very hard to maintain the efficiency a firm needs to generate a healthy profit. Partners are often too removed from the action to know where the problems are, and staff are not always keen to share these problems with the CIO or practice manager because of the fear of repercussions for commenting on previous decisions by management.
The Tech Strategy Review runs in-depth and confidential interviews with your team leaders and a selection of staff to find the weak spots in your processes, why they exist and how staff prefer it to work instead.
Included in the Gold plan or as a separate option.
3. Review existing software stack
The diverse nature of the work undertaken at larger firms means systems that work well for low volume, high-revenue activity such as audit or forensic accounting are often unsuited for high volume, lower revenue activity such as tax compliance processing.
The software suite approach where each division uses the same systems is rarely successful.
The Tech Strategy Review will assess the existing software to determine the tools you should retain and recommend those which you should aim to replace.
4. Research software vendors locally and globally
Cloud software has ignited a global boom in innovation, and practice tools are no exception. Firms now have a choice of remarkable technology from the US, Europe, South Africa and especially Australia and New Zealand.
The Tech Strategy Review assesses the best and latest tools for each category. This process creates a blueprint for a technology platform that, once in place, will slash the time required to meet your firm's objectives.
Digital First can facilitate vendor selection meetings at an additional cost.
5. Run a tech strategy workshop
Alan will present a condensed, high level overview and discussion of solutions that meet your firm's goals. This will save you time investigating the market and eliminates having meetings with vendors which ultimately are not suited to your needs. This workshop also determines the priority for which vendors should be engaged for a discovery meeting and to facilitate future product presentations. The vendors once familiar with your needs will then return at another date to present how their solution addresses your requirements.
Only included in the Gold plan.
6. Present report to executive team
Technology strategy is not just for the CIO. The success of every business today is in a large part due to how well it understands technology and how to use it.
The Tech Strategy Review will give your partners a non-biased overview of solutions that are working for other firms. It will also discuss the competitive landscapes, what small and Big4 firms are doing as well as the impact of future technologies.
Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Hong Kong & Singapore
Suited to firms with 6-15 staff. Price ex. tax and travel costs
Suited to firms with 16-50 staff. Price ex. tax and travel costs
Suited to firms with 50-1,000+ staff. Price ex. tax and travel costs
Why should I spend more on a Digital First Tech Strategy Review?
There are plenty of cheap and quick lists of cloud software for your firm. However, these fail to take into account the fact that each firm is unique, has its own culture, method of working and business units.
The Tech Strategy Review is a customised recommendation based on the size of the firm, the type of work it performs, the existing technology stack and the firm's objectives for the next three to five years. A "rip and replace" of desktop software with cloud software is not always the best solution; it can force too much change too quickly. The firm's performance and profitability can take a prolonged dip while your staff get up to speed on new systems, interfaces and processes.
And no other consultants in the industry have the same exposure to global software. Digital First travels three or four times a year to Silicon Valley to meet with accounting firms and software companies to find out the latest trends in productivity, practice management and customer engagement.
Practice management is a 10 to 20 year investment. The wrong decision can cost large firms hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost productivity and competitive advantage. As a professional in the advice business, you know how important it is to spend wisely.
Why can't my firm do it for free?
You could pull together a group of partners, team leaders and the practice manager and do your own research. The first problem is it's not free. Tally up just the billable hours lost. And then there's the lack of expertise – certainly no knowledge of global alternatives – combined with the ineffectiveness of a committee.
Even if you are willing to overlook these there's no guarantee that you will get a good result. Consider the following advantages of an independent review.
- An honest picture. Often partners and accountants don’t feel comfortable sharing negative thoughts with the IT partner, CEO or CIO. When your staff can give unfiltered feedback to an independent third party you will discover what works in your firm and more importantly what doesn’t.
- A different conversation. The feedback is collated and presented without identification to the executive and becomes a different conversation in the firm because you will understand what is going on. An independent consultant can tell you which problems are the most serious and how to solve them most effectively, at the lowest possible cost.
- A vehicle for change. Behavioural change requires you to have the ability (to drive change), a trigger event (that causes the change) and the motivation (to make the change). Without this, change, and importantly behavioural change, will not occur. Internal committees typically focus on software selection because they lack experience in change management. Do you remember the last time you bought software hoping it would solve your problems only to have it sit on the shelf unused?