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Overcome stakeholder challenges to adopt new technologies

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By Jeanie Rouch.

Congrats! After a careful research process, he found a technology his solution that met many or most of the needs of accounting firms. However, this is only the first part of the process. Now that you’ve identified a suitable solution, it’s time to implement it. Adopting new technology comes with its own challenges, but having the right strategy can make this part of the process a little smoother.

common challenges

At a recent webinar for accountants on Kickstarting CAS Practices with Automating Bill Payments, attendees were asked about the biggest barriers to adopting new technology in their companies. There was consensus that the biggest barrier was getting all stakeholders on board, and this included not just the client, but the company’s leadership and staff as well. This mirrors what we saw in a recent Bill.com survey, indicating that the challenge is fairly common overall. A shared common challenge implies a common interest in a solution, so this should provide reassurance to any company worried that this is unique to them.

Aligning leadership in your company

Gaining leadership buy-in is an important step in technology implementation. We need an executive sponsor to drive this change. The bigger the company, the more important its sponsors. However, management is unlikely to use this technology on a day-to-day basis, so the key here is to demonstrate how adopting the new technology will improve the company’s bottom line. Be prepared to demonstrate which processes are enhanced and how they tie together to benefit your company. This includes:

  • Save time and resources with increased efficiency
  • Reduce errors by automating manual processes
  • More accurate and timely reporting

In addition, be sure to highlight any new revenue streams that may come from implementing the new technology. For example, if employees could focus on higher-value work or spend more time upskilling, would the company be able to offer new services? It’s also worth recognizing how moving to fulfilling workloads can positively impact a company’s talent retention and hiring efforts.

Aligning leadership is not only a hurdle for accounting firms, it is also a problem for clients. In a recent survey conducted with Wakefield by Bill.com, 34% of respondents (in this case, his CFO, VP of Finance, and Controller) said leadership was not making the necessary investments as a technology problem. is listed as

Ensuring staff understanding and support

The best way to involve staff in a planned technology implementation is to adopt the principles of a strong change management approach. Start by creating a detailed plan for adopting this new technology and deploying it in your company. This should include:

Create an appropriate announcement.

New technology can be exciting if you have the right approach in announcing this change. Instead of getting down to weeds right away, think first about how this will benefit your team members. Note that each team may have different benefits depending on her member’s role. A manager-level staff member may be more interested in how this technology impacts client relationships, but junior his staff would like to know how this implementation can help them in their jobs. Maybe I just want to. Easier.

I’ve heard from many accounting firms that when staff understand how new technology reduces the amount of manual and repetitive work they’re responsible for, changes are quickly understood and team members are more receptive. It’s easier.

find your champion

Identifying key team members who can act as cheerleaders for the new technology will help maintain morale throughout the adoption process. But being a true champion goes a step further than just staying positive. Empower your staff to understand how technology works and how it can be leveraged to meet your company’s needs.

Before introducing new technology to clients, especially team members who are on the front lines of client engagement, it is imperative to keep your team aligned and up to date. The client’s perception of the changes you are implementing will be affected by how your staff feel, so you need to convey a tone of confidence and positivity.

Many technology solutions offer advanced training and certification for their products. This is an opportunity for team members to carve out new roles for themselves as formal or informal technical “experts”. This not only provides a resource for individuals who need more guidance, but also gives these advocates a sense of ownership and stakes. Processes that help retain talent.

Plan, plan, plan again.

Review and improve day-to-day processes to explain where new technology plays a role. Consider how to involve team members in the process and align employee interests with company needs. Once the proposed process is determined, consider a slow rollout that leaves time to fine-tune the process before flipping the switch 100%.

One way to do this is to beta test the new process with a small number of trusted clients. This gives staff the opportunity to become familiar with the technology, including identifying initial pain points and developing some early best practices before the technology is more widely implemented.

Also, be prepared for the inevitable temporary loss of production as your staff increases. This is normal. Be prepared and let them know what is coming and what to expect so you can work together as they learn new workflows, new ways of thinking about and doing work. I can do it.

Get clients to use new technology

Similar to how important our approach with our in-house team is, careful consideration when unveiling new technology to clients can create excitement and acceptance when done right. Your company is a reliable partner for your clients. This change is just one way he demonstrates his continued commitment to efficiently meeting the needs of his clients. Keep in mind the following elements of a strong announcement:

  • messaging: Develop new technology messaging, including an understanding of what new technology is, the value it brings to clients, and why your company is making the switch. Clients should have a clear understanding of how this technology enhances and simplifies the services they provide.
  • open dialogue: This is an opportunity to strengthen client confidence in your company. Show that you know your clients and their pain points, and that you are committed to mitigating them in the most efficient way possible.
  • help: Clients need to feel supported throughout the onboarding process, so clarify if your company plans to provide training or resources. Training clients on new software is a win-win. You can showcase your technical expertise and build stronger relationships with your clients while helping them onboard faster and (hopefully) easier.
  • timing: Give your customers time to familiarize themselves with this information and ask questions before the technology is deployed, just as your staff needs time to adjust. The goal here is to be as flexible as possible. The last thing you don’t want is for your clients to feel like this change has happened to them.

In the same Bill.com survey above, 40% of finance leaders surveyed said they plan to automate their finance processes in 2022. creation and implementation process.

Steady Hands for Steady Recruitment

There is still no silver bullet to solve all needs. In the meantime, all stakeholders affected by the solutions they choose to innovate and implement can rest assured that the company has their best interests in mind when it comes to new technologies. It is important to let

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Jeannie Ruesch is Senior Director of Marketing at Bill.com and has been in the accounting industry for over seven years. She previously worked for Xero and The Sleeter Group. She has over 20 years of experience in brand creation and strategy, design, social media development, demand her generation, and customer marketing. She’s a tech nerd at heart, an author, an award-winning graphic designer, and loves finding ways to help customers solve their problems.