Identifying, Prioritizing & Deciding on Technology Priorities for your Firm

With the Seemingly Never-ending Busy Season Now in the Rearview Mirror, it’s Time to Take Stock and Make a Plan 

Throughout the busy season, you’ve been focused on getting work out the door and taking care of clients. You’ve inevitably discovered inefficiencies, roadblocks, opportunities, inconsistencies, bottlenecks, and hassles, but haven’t had the time or energy to address them and instead implemented a work-around. The off-peak season is your once-a-year opportunity to level up your firm. There are a lot of technology improvements you could do—but which are the right and best ones to invest your time and money into? Behold, a framework for CPA firms to identify, prioritize & decide on which technology priorities to invest in for your firm. 

Asking the Right Questions 

It all starts with asking the right questions.  

  • What worked well this busy season?  
  • What didn’t work?  
  • What was frustrating?  
  • What broke when we transitioned to working from home?  
  • What were the bottlenecks?  

With the answers to these questions, build a list. Download the “Identifying, Prioritizing & Deciding on Technology Priorities for your Firm” tool below and enter those inefficiencies into the first table at the top.  

Addressing Inefficiencies with Technology 

Now that the issues are listed, you have a good sense of what opportunities for growth and improvement exist in your firm. Imagine if you just addressed two or three of those issues, how much more efficient and productive—and not to mention, more profitable—your team could be.  

In the right column, for each of the issues that have surfaced, write down a solution or technology that might be able to address each of the inefficiencies you’ve identified. For example, if one of the bottlenecks you encountered this busy season was scanning documents, a solution might be equipping your team’s home offices with fast desktop scanners.  

The Key is Prioritization 

If money were no object and we had unlimited time, we’d likely implement all of those improvements. Since, in reality we have very real constraints on time and cash, the next step is to prioritize your initiatives in order of return on time and money. Ask yourself, which of the priorities will I get the biggest return on the quickest?  

There are multiple costs to consider. Of course, the hard costs associated with purchasing software or hardware, but also consider the time to setup and train your team on any new technologies. There can also be significant costs associated with migrating data or transitioning to a new platform. Further, you might have contracts you might need to consider for some technological changes. When you add up all the costs, how long does it take for those changes to provide a return? If it’s less than one year or busy season, you have a winner! Initiatives with longer return horizons can still make sense too, they just require more planning. In some cases, a longer-term investment needs to be made to unlock the potential of other improvements, such as migrating to the cloud. Once you’ve made that migration, you’re able to integrate many new and innovative technologies that can drive the top line as well. 

Time to take Action! 

The final step in the process of identifying, prioritizing & deciding on technology improvements for this off-peak time is to decide and commit to what you will get done, who will get it done, and when it will get done by. This will likely be doing research, getting proposals, talking to technology vendors, and talking to peers.  

Don’t go it Alone 

There are many firms out there that have made the improvements you are contemplating. Connect with your peers and find out how and why the made the changes that they did and if they are happy with the results. You need not reinvent the wheel. 

Forgive the shameless plug but working with a technology company that understands CPA firm technology up and down, back and forth, like Tech Guru, can make implementing these technology improvements even more seamless. We are taking CPA firms to the cloud every week and helping reduce their reliance on legacy software that was making it hard for firms to scale and grow, not to mention, to be able to address disruptions like COVID-19.  

Innovate or Become Obsolete 

Seize the moment! Today is the day! There are amazing new technologies that can help you level up your firm. The off-peak season is a small but critical window of time to address inefficiencies and build a better firm. Your clients, your staff, and your bottom line will thank you. 

Coming-up next, look for our post on how to decide on which new capabilities to add to your firm.