Digital maturity refers to an organization’s ability to respond quickly and adopt the latest advancements available to its tech stack. It is the key predictor of an organization’s success and drives outcomes that fuel growth and scalability.
Software, hardware, and application integrations take time. Yet, up-to-date systems work together more seamlessly, speeding up the time it takes for a tech stack upgrade.
According to a Deloitte report, 43% of companies with advanced digital maturity see significantly higher cash flows and profits. However, many accounting firms delay taking action when implementing a digital transformation.
That said, with the average age of an accountant being 43, technology is nothing new to these folks. Adapting to this technology is easier for them than for those who have worked in accounting for more than 30 years.
Accounting firms aware of technology’s impact on their business are quickly transitioning to digital processes and are ready to become fully integrated. Whether conscious of it or not, they are becoming a more digitally mature firm by continuously streamlining its operations with technology.
Accounting firms can measure digital maturity by how adaptive they are as they turn away from current manual processes and rely on digital solutions. Let’s evaluate the different stages to help accountants understand where their tech stack needs improvements.
The Different Stages of the Digital Maturity Model
When evaluating an accounting firm’s digital maturity, consider the following characteristics:
- Operational efficacy
Much like how humans mature, digital maturity occurs in stages. An accountant isn’t going to walk into the office one day to discover their firm should operate entirely using digital solutions after using mostly manual processes the day before.
Wouldn’t it be nice if going fully digital could happen overnight?
Since this is only a pipedream, Google and Boston Consulting Group developed the Digital Maturity Model that helps organizations understand what stage of digital maturity they are in.
That allows them to develop a strategy to manage their digital transformation moving forward. Here’s what Google and Boston Consulting determined:
Firms in this stage lack reliable and transparent data. Collected data is often stuck in silos and not reasonably searchable.
They have no analytical data to determine patterns, client behaviors, annual changes, cash flows, profits, or workflows. Remote workforce management is challenging, and tracking billable hours is more strenuous than necessary.
Accounting firms in the stage operate how they did in the ’80s (if they were in business back then). They probably use outdated computer systems, have file folders and cabinets to store archived data, and for some reason, the image of faux wood paneling on the walls comes to mind.
Firms operating in this stage need the most help when making digital transformations. A decision on how to move forward requires C-level involvement, outsourced IT strategists, and (a lot of) support.
Organizations in this stage are discovering how to work with collected data and build capabilities, workflows, processes, and policies that allow them to turn that data into programs, plans, and initiatives.
Accounting firms are becoming more coordinated, access to data is improved, KPIs are easier to determine and analyze, and even business jargon is becoming unified. There’s a focus on documenting processes to allow the firm to scale effectively.
The staff adopted the test-and-learn philosophy, focusing on learning and communicating newly acquired knowledge and proficiencies to streamline processes further.
At this stage, firms are operating using newer systems but are still working on integration and adoption. These accounting firms generally partner with organizations that can ease this process. They build new connections with businesses to help achieve digital transformation success.
Firms at this stage attempt to coordinate multiple channels, achieve efficiencies through better media execution, and drive incremental revenue. Advanced organizations start to establish cross-functional teams that combine all relevant expertise.
Some are even capable of bringing together online marketing and offline channels to work more closely together. Every team member works toward common KPIs and is well-supported by reliable measurement experts.
The fundamental challenge at this stage is technical skills development that enables firms to combine external and internal data sources, inform creative work, provide insights about audiences, and automate workflows for swift campaign development, testing, and adjustment.
An accounting firm in this stage is well on its way to operating a successful business capable of adapting to technology changes and scaling according to demands. There are still learning curves, and staff might still require the added support of managing tasks as they understand new workflows.
Organizations in this stage operate using the most advanced technologies and automation. From a glance, they can get a complete look at how the firm is doing as a whole.
Zoom out to see what is working and what areas need improvement. Zoom in to analyze specific performance metrics or client behavior. Use analytics to figure out how to lower costs, develop further efficiencies, and develop technology goals linked to business KPIs.
Accounting firms in this stage are primed for success, ready to integrate new systems, and have an unmatched advantage over their competition. They ensure every touchpoint counts and deliver more personalized and professional service to their clients.
Measure Your Firm’s Digital Maturity with the Tech Gurus
The IT sector is often overwhelming to anyone who isn’t in the field. Even people who have grown up in the digital age struggle with some integrations. In an ever-evolving world of technology, IT professionals must work diligently to stay informed of all the latest tech advancements.
At Tech Guru, IT is our specialty, and working with CPAs and accounting firms is our passion. With nearly two decades of experience, our staff is ready to help your accounting firm measure its digital maturity and assess what strategies are necessary moving forward in a digital world.
To receive your technology optimization score, take our Accounting Firm Technology Checkup. You can also schedule a call with one of our IT strategists to start your technology journey of becoming a digitally mature firm.