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Changing Practice Management Software -making it all worth the pain

Changing Practice Management Software -making it all worth the pain

Anyone who has acquired an existing firm, or simply decided to move their accounting business to a cloud-based system, will be aware of the myriad of costs and unexpected delays that occur in transitioning Practice Management Systems (PM). There are a number of considerations your firm should take into account to get the most effective outcome of such transitions.

Use a Consultant – Accountants are typically cost sensitive so the idea of paying a third party additional fees may on face value seem an unnecessary cost, especially where you have internal resources that can assist with the task. One challenge is that a lot of implementation consultants in software companies don’t have a background in the accounting industry, and may overlook the nuances of moving from one software platform to another. Software companies generally have a best-practice model. However, transitions can vary significantly from one practice to the next and reporting and processes may not perfectly align. Being prepared for how to deal with these changes in advance can make a significant difference in the smoothness of the transition and when productivity benefits manifest.

Go All In – If you are going to do a transition do it properly. Strategically evaluate your firm, its business models and processes and develop a technology stack that makes it more efficient and allows you to easily scale. This is another reason to get professional support from an implementation consultant that understands the accounting industry well. Again, each software company has their own implementation consultants but you want someone who is going to develop an integrated solution that benefits your business.

A further benefit to taking a holistic approach when looking to update your tech stack, is that if you make an integrated change, your team won’t have to learn new processes that may change again in a few months or a year. The constant training and retraining leads to change fatigue and process confusion resulting in negative impact on staff productivity and utilisation.

Don’t assess the cost of a product based on the short term investment, look at the cost saving or potential increase in output as the basis for any assessment. Similar with engaging consultants, the upfront costs can easily be offset by the extra benefits of an effective and well-adopted investment in technology.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All – There’s a number of groups who publish recommended technology stacks for accounting or publish their own for informational and marketing purposes, however this doesn’t replace the need for undertaking your own strategic analysis. The most effective technology solution for your accounting business depends on a number of variables. This may include the firm’s current service offering, client base, internal workflow process and the way your firm typically engages with their clients are all relevant to undertaking an effective assessment of what is the best solution to allow your firm to grow and scale.

It’s Never the Ideal Time – The reality is that no time is ideal, most transitions take months to implement and sometimes a year or more before things start running to plan. However, making the commitment and having the right change management in place will yield the best results. Further, making the commitment to approach tech changes holistically rather than in isolation will achieve the best results with minimal disruption to your people, processes and clients.

About the Author
Daniel Harrison, Technical Lead- Accounting
Daniel leverages his extensive experience in the Australian accounting industry to advance our accounting and bookkeeping offerings.

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