Embracing technology is key for accounting firms to drive digital transformation. But it’s just one component of an effective formula. Firms must combine that technology with their people to drive innovation as we all prepare for the future of accounting.
To provide firms with a plan to build their own digital roadmap, Shari Dodgen, Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting’s director of strategic relationships and product marketing, tapped into the knowledge of Amanda Wilkie, Consultant with Boomer Consulting, Inc., and Jim McGinnis, EVP and General Manager, Professional Market, Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting North America. “The Road Ahead” webinar looks at how the three elements come together.
People Drive Performance
The highest performing firms must attract and retain talent who not only provide great client service but who also can keep up with technological changes. Accountants today need two types of skills:
Augmentation skills: As artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation become more prevalent, accountants will need more advanced technological skills. That means, for example, being able to set up and monitor technology to ensure it’s operating effectively. It also requires the ability to collaborate with technology experts and analyze data for business insights.
Success skills: Accounting is still a service-based industry, and accountants will always be valued for the soft skills that help solve client problems. Well-rounded employees will possess emotional intelligence, creativity and integrity, as well as the aptitude to communicate and collaborate with others.
Leveraging Technology to Focus on the Future
A digital tax workflow helps firms maximize their resources so they can free up time to serve clients better. As a result, technology is helping firms achieve better outcomes on a number of KPIs in these five areas:
- Agility: The ability to recognize and seize new opportunities
- Efficiency: Accomplishing more with the same staff
- Growth: Attracting new clients and adding new services
- Profitability: Earning more from existing clients
- Transformation: Adapting to and preparing for the future
Making Innovation a Priority
As the marketplace changes, firms that are focused on innovation advance client experience by having the courage, creativity and vision to reinvent their service offerings and approach to client service.
However, innovation isn’t easy; it takes time. Firms can free up valuable hours by using integrated software platforms to automate certain tasks and utilize a central database so that data entry steps are minimized.
Firms also need to budget for innovation, taking into account technical debt and having ongoing conversations about how staffing and technology changes can help them prepare for the road ahead.
Align Your Staff and Technology for the Future
To learn more about how innovation is shaping the future of accounting, view “The Road Ahead” webinar online.