Whether you believe in the great resignation or not, talent retention is a challenge for all types of accounting firms, particularly with young professionals.
But one of the key reasons for people staying engaged in the workplace may surprise you – it’s your technology.
McKinsey recently found technology is essential for keeping employees engaged in the workplace (McKinsey 2021), and the good news is that taking up new technology is not as scary as it used to be.
Digital transformation presents a unique opportunity for SME accounting firms to leverage their small-team advantage. By adopting cloud-based technology with an employee driven mindset, SMEs can empower cultural change to attract and retain talent.
1. Clouds have silver linings!
The pandemic has accelerated the trend of remote working, and most employees want their firms to provide flexible work options. A hybrid workplace also allows you to look beyond your city to talent in other cities and regional areas.
For remote work to work - cloud-based technology is essential. By centralising your data management through the cloud, your team can access their work wherever they are, while improving collaboration and teaming in your organisation.
2. Walk before you run
When companies digitise their workforce, there is a temptation to join numerous software platforms. Suddenly you have several subscriptions charging you fees, often with overlapping features. As a result, employees (particularly your young guns) can become frustrated, as they are forced to explain systems to senior management, worry about version control – and act as a default IT person.
The best place to start is with a Client Relationship Management (CRM) platform that has all the basic functionality you need. A CRM is a platform that manages your firms’ relationships with your clients and prospects. CRMs have historically had a reputation as clunky to use and expensive, but new cutting-edge platforms on the market are changing all this.
If you’re a small to medium sized business, avoid CRMs with lots of integrations as this may end up compounding your subscription fees and can have significant upfront costs.
By starting small, you’re ensuring that your organisation is growing together, and protecting your employees from burn-out.
3. Keep it local
Like a gym membership, it is always easy to sign-up to a new software platform but, like the gym – it is what happens next that makes change management difficult.
Make sure you take the time to find a CRM provider that will properly support you through the transition. Access to a local Australian team makes digital transformation easy. Picture your team huddled around a series of online training videos sent by your American software provider – your senior management is not going to have the patience, or the time, to watch them. Nothing beats an account manager who can assist your team locally, answering all your questions for you.
A team in your time zone can also help to protect your organisation. Imagine something goes wrong with your client database. You need to revoke somebody’s user permissions – immediately. Only to realise the organisation you’ve partnered with are in America and over there, everyone is asleep and instead of speaking with a person, you’re speaking with a chat bot.
Ensure your software provider has a support team in your time-zone, so that when accidents happen or issues arise, they can be resolved quickly.
4. Be clear about privacy
Privacy is two-fold. The first part of privacy is often on an individual employee level. Employees may be nervous about collaborating on projects digitally, fearing that by sharing sensitive information, they may risk losing out on a bonus to a colleague. This reluctance is not always relayed to partners but can be a real barrier to a genuinely digitised workforce.
- Ensure that your CRM has clear access permissions on projects, right down to each individual item, so team members can collaborate without risk.
- The second part is connected to the software provider itself. This means that the systems they are using to store your data is safe and secure.
All providers should be ISO 27001:2013 certified.
5. No time like the present!
Put simply, everyone wants to know that they are working at an organisation that is prepared, and will prepare them for, a changed industry. The pandemic has accelerated the trend toward digital transformation, and without action, organisations risk falling behind.
The recent Technology Investment Boost for Small and Medium-sized Businesses means digitising your workforce has never been more affordable. But this tax break will expire in June 2023 – and when you consider the process of convincing your board, reviewing different software providers, and finalising an onboarding process – the best time to start planning for a transformation is now.
We know this is not really a tip – but it will save you money.
If you feel like these points are relevant to you, then try SwiftFox - an experienced Australian-based team who solves these problems.