There is no doubt that tech for accounting firms has come a long way in the last 10 years and particularly in the last 4-5 years. Technology should be there to serve the business … not the other way round … and should be matched to the services the firm is providing … there should also be a strong focus on client experience (CX); online sharing of information and self-service portals and the like.
The other thing we hear a lot about these days are Tech Stacks. Bigger is not necessarily better! The more apps and add-ons … the greater the cost and the increased risk of something breaking or security breaches.
FeeSynergy is well known across the accounting industry for being the leaders in fee funding but nowadays more so for its integrated debtor management software platform called FeeSynergy Collect. Our team are often asked for advice on a wide range of technology related matters – one that comes up more and more often is in the area of tech stacks. With more than 800 add-ons and apps in the Xero marketplace alone, there is a bewildering range of solutions to choose from.
I was recently asked the question … if you were starting a firm from scratch, what tech would you use? It is fair to say that setting up an accounting practice does not require a lot of capital outlay when it comes to technology. If I was starting up a new practice, I would start with a business plan to articulate:
- What services am I going to offer? year 1 / year 3 / year 5
- How and by whom will they be delivered?
- How will they be priced?
- What technology do I need to support the business plan?
Technology should be matched to the services the firm is providing and always with an eye on the client experience (CX). Leading the charge should be the choice of practice management system as it will be the “source of truth” of client data. If you don’t have the time or the expertise, seek advice from an independent expert or go and talk to other accounting firms.
- what do they use?
- is it any good?
- is it secure?
- does the vendor provide good service?
- do they own the IP?
- how much does it cost?
- would it suit my practice?
- practice management integration?
In other words, invest time to do some proper due diligence and get comfortable about a solution that ticks on your own boxes, not someone else’s. Getting it wrong can be very costly.
Even a tech stack for a small accounting firm may comprise 10 or more applications …
- Practice Management (server-side or cloud based) – “your source of truth”
- Practice ledger (expense management)
- Payroll / HR
- Document Management
- CRM (check out HubSpot – low cost with lots of integrations)
- SMSF management
- Video Conferencing – such as Zoom or MS Teams
- Reporting and dashboards
- and of course, Debtor Management – the FeeSynergy platform gives you 5 solutions in 1 – integrated automated collections, payments, engagements, direct debits, online payments all fully integrated with your PM system.
And when it comes to cost, consider the total cost of ownership. Not just the monthly licence costs! Apps that attract transaction fees such as merchant or direct debits can add up to a huge cost. These costs can vary significantly from one provider to the next. Digital signature costs can also mount up quickly but these are usually offset in efficiency gains.
Accounting firms are lucky to have so much choice when it comes to technology. The challenge is to select the best solution/s that provide efficiency, flexibility, scalability and value for money.
For more information on how FeeSynergy Collect fits with your firm’s technology and business needs and reduce your tech stack contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a demo at https://feesynergy.com.au/book-a-demo/