A survey of accounting firms across Australia by technology consulting firm Smithink found that the number one challenge accounting firms are citing with new technology is getting the most out of the systems they are implementing.
“The feedback from this research is: we are not maximising this technology,” said Smithink’s founder David Smith at the Accountants Technology Showcase Australia in Melbourne this morning.
Xero’s managing director for Australia, Trent Innes, said it’s imperative that firms implementing new technology understand they are reshaping workflow, not just upgrading their systems.
“The technology is one piece of it. The other is people. There is no point building the technology and not educating the people. The adoption by staff is so important, you’ve got to take people on that journey with you. It’s not just about the technology,” Mr Innes said.
Similarly, Alan Osrin, managing director of Sage Software Australia, said firms that do not roll out education to their staff when new systems are implemented are wasting significant resources.
“It doesn’t help to have a practice where the practice manager knows everything and the staff don’t. It’s important to have a practice where everyone is across everything. If they need to get someone out to train them to find out what’s best practice, invest in it. If not using systems properly, you are wasting your time and your money,” Mr Osrin said.
Mr Smith said his practice reviews of accounting firms can be quite confronting, with staff often not across their own IT and software systems.
“I do practice reviews and I look at the technology use. One of the things which always does blow me away is that very few firms do regular IT training,” Mr Smith said.
“I believe you should teach IT incrementally. Show them how to use two things incrementally. They’ll go back to their workspace, it becomes habit. Show them another two things, and you do that forever, and you slowly lift everyone’s use of technology,” Mr Smith said.
“You’re putting systems to waste if you don’t.”