Accounting technology integration: Do’s and Don’ts

Has your firm ever struggled with technology that it procured in order to improve operations? You aren’t the only one. That’s because problems with accounting technology integration are relatively common. Some of the reasons?

  • Short attention span: “This technology is cool! Let’s buy it and see what we can do with it.”
  • Shortchanging quality: “This technology is cheap! However, it doesn’t really work as described.”
  • Short-term budgeting: “We paid for this piece of technology, so now we don’t have money for the rest of the system.”
  • Short-sighted planning: “I thought if we just started somewhere, we would eventually get the whole firm on the same page.”

Whatever the reasoning, at its heart, it is an integration problem. Firms with fully integrated solutions handle as much heavy lifting as possible with technology. However, many times, the “integration” relies on syncing multiple databases. That means these firms still have multiple data sources, duplicate data, inconsistent data and out-of-date information.

On the other hand, true, structural accounting technology integration with a single database for client and staff data can provide efficiencies throughout your firm. With a centralized database, data is more accessible and your system is more extensible (meaning you can more easily add new functionality).

Point-to-point vs. structural integration

To see the difference between point-to-point integration and deeper integration, consider the following:

Multiple Products that Sync Shared Common Database
The same information is entered into different applications. A single database houses client and staff data that multiple modules can be access.
Staff has to perform work in the office. Staff can access centralized data more easily from anywhere.
Integrating with third parties becomes a full-time job. Third party integrations are straightforward and reliable.
Transitioning to a client-centric model is difficult. You can provide the kind of service your clients expect
Total cost of ownership grows with each passing year. Cost of ownership is steady and predictable

It’s clear that firms with truly integrated solutions experience a number of advantages over point-to-point integrations, including more automation, fewer data entry struggles, better client service and fewer communication issues.  To learn more about integration in the cloud, download our free whitepaper, “Laying the Foundation for Firm Success.”

AUTHOR

Aimee Hall

Product Marketing Manager at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting

All stories by: Aimee Hall

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