When you think about your accounting firm’s tech solution providers, do you consider them to be strategic business partners, whose vast experience and knowledge help you to make technology decisions and improve processes? Or are they simply vendors trying to sell you products that you may or may not want?
When we work with firms to ensure their processes are efficient, consistent, and focused on client value, we encourage them to involve their solution providers in the discussions
1. Chat often
Be sure to talk to your solution providers beyond the renewing of licences and subscriptions. You stand to gain significant learning opportunities by engaging with them on a more regular basis.
While it can be difficult to prioritize your solution providers when you’re focused on maintaining client relationships, try to connect with them at conferences and events. These tend to offer opportunities for collaboration and knowledge-sharing outside of the time demands and distractions of the office. Developing this relationship with your solution provider can benefit your decisions regarding technology and processes well into the future.
2. Ask for input on process and tech decisions
Involve your solution provider in the decision-making process from the start so that, when you’re implementing new solutions, you can talk to them about efficiencies and functionality that you require. They may have suggestions that could let you leverage your existing technology without spending unnecessarily on new solutions.
3. Grow your peer network
Ask your solution provider to connect you with peers. That way, if your firm encounters a difficult situation involving process or technology, you can compare notes on lessons learned. This helps to mitigate challenges and supports success.
4. Get input on best practices
You won’t find best practices in your financial procedural manual, which is why you need to engage your solution provider to gather insights. Often, best practices developed by vendors are designed to cater for everyone, and while they will include steps on how to maximise their software, they will not take into consideration the unique processes of your firm, or how their software integrates with other technologies.
These best practices will, however, still be beneficial when developing your own standard processes, and maximizing the value from your tech.