Accounting firms are now much more likely to choose technologies based on their efficiency than their functionality, according to one big four executive, in what the firm is calling a “reverse in trend”.
Big 4 firm spots 'reverse in trend' for accounting
While firms once put the highest impetus on functionality when selecting technology products, KPMG Enterprise director Fleur Telford told Accountants Daily she believes this is no longer the case.
“What I’m seeing is users are willing to sacrifice some level of functionality for efficiency and integration. Server-based technology certainly gives them far more functionality but I’m seeing people happily compromise on some things in order to get others, which is a bit of a reserve in trend,” she said.
“If you think back 10 or 15 years ago we were all trying to find the perfect piece of software that could do everything and that’s no longer the case because cloud technology allows us to plug bits and pieces together.
“Firms are focusing on what is the best bit for this particular function or this particular workflow and then back filling it with other pieces of technology which they can plug in later.”
In terms of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), Ms Telford believes cloud-based technologies are much more likely to integrate into their offering than traditional server-based technologies
“Not only does robotics and AI lend itself to [cloud] technology, but because they're generally agile developers and providers I’m seeing that technology pop up there first rather than the more traditional server-based technology,” she said.
“Funnily enough its actually the server-based technology that would benefit most from robotics but rather than being on the front foot themselves, those providers are leaving it to either the firms to put their own automation in, or they're leaving the door open for the cloud providers to start implementing and providing the API access to their own systems for more automation.”
“It’s a little bit crazy if you think about it because this is actually a chance for them to bring their technology further up the chain than where they're finding themselves at the moment.”
Ms Telford said that server-based technology providers risk falling further down the ladder of technology that firms prefer to use if they don’t embrace robotics and AI.
“It’s not that they're making themselves irrelevant because their technology is extremely relevant and needed, but they're facing the prospect that their code is getting too old, their user interfaces are certainly looking very dated and there is a much, much higher expectation now on what technology provides us,” she said.