With The Great Resignation accelerating staffing challenges for accounting firms of all sizes, it might be time to look for a non-traditional new hire: technology.
Many firms have historically employed dedicated staff to manage specific manual tasks and processes. In fact, it’s how most entry-level positions start out—entering trial balance data into engagement software, formatting financial statements, or scanning spreadsheets for inaccuracies. But with the talent gap growing with more and more accounting professionals leaving to find work that excites them, it might be time to consider giving junior staff more meaningful work to dig into and let technology handle the mundane tasks.
What did firms learn about talent gaps during the pandemic?
The pandemic demonstrated that a firm’s processes and workflow need not be confined to a physical location. Rather, technology presents an opportunity to revamp workflow processes and incorporate automation to the fullest extent possible. As we move into the post-pandemic phase, accounting firms should keep this momentum going by implementing permanent remote and flexible work policies and technologies, including:
> Automation (with machine learning and artificial intelligence)
> Cloud technology
> Remote collaboration tools
> A digital-first approach to workflow
To streamline repetitive processes while also increasing productivity and collaboration, look for a technology solution that enables staff to work simultaneously from any location and offers comprehensive workflow management tools that foster communication and collaboration within a single system.
The benefits of technology here are two-fold. When software handles manual processes, not only can you streamline your processes, but your remaining staff has more time to focus on what matters most: serving your clients as trusted advisors and growing your firm. This includes researching and sharing insights on the tax topics and trends that affect your clients most.
How can technology help fill talent gaps and position your firm as a trusted advisor?
By automating the manual aspects of your workflow with technology, you can not only fill gaps in talent but redirect the time saved to more meaningful (and highly profitable) advisory services. Moving to an advisory-based model provides your clients with the guidance and support they are looking for while enabling you and your staff to use your knowledge and experience to your firm’s advantage.
With a more engaged staff, you can shift your engagement strategy for new clients based on the value your firm brings to their business. New client services can be geared toward identifying end goals, setting the path toward those goals, and guiding your clients down each step of the path.
Technology can also help you analyse trends and support your clients with the insight that helps their businesses grow and thrive. And because you and your staff will gain a deep understanding of the expertise your customers really need, your firm will be empowered to identify additional opportunities that further strengthen these relationships and boost revenue.
When you make the move to advisory services, you can be more selective of the clients you serve. In the end, you’ll be seen as a strategic partner versus a compliance processer. By combining your knowledge and experience with technology, you get a powerful combination that engages staff, deepens client relationships, and improves your bottom line.