Successful accounting firms embracing technology

Technology

Many forward-thinking firms are harnessing the power of technology to drive efficiency, fuel the expansion of advisory services, and create new streams of revenue.

Promoted by Wolters Kluwer 3 minute read

The Wolters Kluwer 2023-24 Accounting Evolution survey, conducted among over 600 accounting firm professionals, aims to shed light on technology adoption, current challenges, and strategic priorities for the upcoming year.

Comparing Last Year's Goals with Current Priorities:

As technology continues to reshape the accounting industry, embracing its potential becomes crucial for firms seeking growth and success. By leveraging technology to optimize operations, improve profitability, and prioritize revenue growth, accounting firms can position themselves as industry leaders. The Wolters Kluwer Accounting Evolution survey provides valuable insights that can guide firms in their strategic decision-making processes.

In the 2022-23 survey, amid reports of a sector-wide boom in accounting firms, the top priority for accounting firms was to enhance job profitability and efficiency by streamlining operational workflows and standardizing processes. Revenue growth ranked second in terms of importance.

This year, the landscape has shifted, with revenue growth reclaiming its position as the primary strategic goal for accounting firms. The findings also indicate that firms that are poised to meet or exceed their revenue targets offer valuable insights for others in the field to consider.

Technology adoption

Successful firms are using full cloud solutions and technology to gain efficiencies, and create the capacity required to generate new business and grow revenue.

Although the overall outlook is positive, with the majority of surveyed companies anticipating at least modest growth in the next two years, a smaller subset of 14% of companies have high expectations for their financial performance.

These firms are more likely to be technology pioneers, proactively seeking technology solutions to help their businesses succeed.

Revenue expectations and technology uptake
Comparing firms expecting low financial growth vs firms expecting high financial growth

2023-24 Wolters Kluwer Accounting Evolution Report

[Call out box] Technology implemented by your firm provides significant help to meet business demands

  • All firms: 63%
  • Firms expecting high financial growth: 70%

The key areas where technology is helping these firms include: reducing the hours spent on their jobs (59%), improving the quality and accuracy of their work (46%) and focussing on core business and billable work vs administrative duties (46%).

Additionally, these firms are more self-assured in their capacity to cater to customers' demands within the next three years.

Confidence in firm’s ability to meet customer needs over the next 3 years

  • All firms: 42%
  • Firms expecting high financial growth: 67%

Client Engagement

With efficiencies gained from technology adoption, successful firms are able to prioritise proactive client engagement, new business generation and growing their advisory services.

This is reflected in their strategic goals over the next two years, which differ slightly from the survey average across all firms. By embracing technology and emphasizing client engagement, these firms are positioning themselves for growth and continued success in the future.

 

Top 3 goals for 2023-24

 

All firms

Firms expecting high financial growth

1.      

Revenue growth

Revenue growth

2.      

Improve operational efficiencies

Improve operational efficiencies / Grow advisory services

3.      

Improve employee effectiveness

Improve profitability / Improve customer engagement

 

Firms reporting high financial growth credit technology to impacting their ability to add new clients, retain more existing clients and expand their range of services.

Technology helping to add new clients, retain more clients and add new services:

  • All firms: 36%
  • Firms expecting high financial growth: 65%

Successful firms are also proactively reaching out to a significant number of clients to inform them of relevant tax events (51%, compared to 43% of all firms surveyed), thus generating new potential revenue driving opportunities.  

Gaining More Efficiencies

Although many firms have seen positive benefits from adopting cloud solutions and technologies, there are still areas where further efficiencies can be gained.

The main challenges faced by firms this year have remained largely unchanged. These challenges include data collection, talent engagement, and work-life balance, which are common across the board.

However, for firms aiming for high financial growth, the number one challenge is achieving work-life balance. This suggests that revenue growth is happening at the expense of human resources, with many efficiency benefits of technology not being fully utilized.

 

Top 3 issues currently facing your firm

 

All firms

Firms expecting high financial growth

1.      

Obtaining correct data fromclients on a timely basis (46.5%) Work life balance for you and your staff (47.2%)

2.      

Work life balance for you and your staff (43.0%) Obtaining correct data from clients on a timely basis (41.8%)

3.      

Attracting and retainingtalent (42.8%) Finding the time to value add for clients / Attracting and retaining talent (40.0%)

 

To what extent are you maximising the benefits of your firm’s current technologies?

  • All firms: 9.4%
  • Firms expecting high financial growth: 15.1%

Further, while all firms report that integrated technologies for compliance, accounting and practice management solutions is a top requirement, 27% of all firms and 25% of firms expecting high financial growth are still using five or more different providers of software solutions.

At Wolters Kluwer, we provide integrated compliance, accounting and practice management software with our award-winning CCH iFirm platform. We also provide tax and accounting research through our CCH iKnow, CCH iQ and related expert content solutions; thus being able to unlock efficiencies in the typical end-to-end accounting workflow.

As firms look to save time, improve quality of work, job profitability and free up time to add advisory services without compromising work life balance, we believe adopting unified technologies across both software and research will be critical to achieving a competitive edge in the years ahead.

Complimentary Report Download:

2023-24 Wolters Kluwer Accounting Evolution Report

[Download Now]

 

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