Digital Transformation in the Accounting World
August 4, 2021 •SAPRO
You probably noticed, but just in case you missed it—The world around us is going through a striking digital transformation.
As the world recovers from a pandemic, many notice it’s accelerated many changes that were already under way. Namely a positive shift toward digital environments. This transformation affects the accounting sector as well. And as with any major shift in business-as-usual, discomfort often comes with great opportunity.
Let’s take a look at some of the key changes and opportunities that the global digital transformation is causing for the accounting world.
Remote Business Development
In an age of social distancing, restrictions on in-person contact can seem prohibitive. No more networking events, no more meet-ups, no more in-person conventions. What a roadblock for business development.
How will you ever meet prospective clients and grow your business?
Remote business development can offer great opportunities as well.
Remember that nearly everyone is in the same situation. Most people are doing some type of remote outreach, some for the first time. There are still lots of ways to get in contact with prospective clients and introduce yourself. They might even relish an interesting conversation with someone new.
For example, prospective clients might welcome a short online session where you introduce yourself. You could teach them about an easy-to-explain topic from your industry that a layperson might struggle with (helpful to them, of course).
Or, a prospect might appreciate a specialized webinar where you go in depth on a current hot topic affecting their industry - i.e. the employee retention credit.
Remote business development has the advantage that instead of making smalltalk at a networking event, you get the chance to add real value to a potential client’s business. Use the chance to position yourself as an expert who can help them focus on their core business.
Being fully remote shouldn't impede your business development activities at all. In some cases, remote can offer even more opportunities than traditional methods.
Offshore staffing has been used for years by a variety of industries, including accounting and other service sectors. It’s another tool for keeping fixed costs low and flexibility high. Digitalization makes the process relatively simple and straightforward.
Offshoring and outsourcing can be used for staff of all levels - from basic data entry to senior level accountants.
Build up an offshore team to take up the slack during peak periods, or just reduce your team’s burden by shifting lower-level tasks to a back-office function. Take it a step further by partnering with an audit services provider, like SAPRO
The idea of building a remote, international team is often daunting. At SAPRO, we break through those complications and barriers by exclusively providing resource options for accounting firms.
Our diverse, international team of experienced professionals gives you quick access to to high-quality resources in order to:
- Counteract a loss of revenue
- Overcome a shortage of in-house employees
- Maintain competitiveness
Best Practices for Successful Virtual Environments
Working remotely in a virtual environment presents employees and managers with a new set of challenges. Where a previously in-person team tended to build a sort of natural cohesion, remote teams now have to work for it.
Following proven best practices can ensure your in-person team makes a successful transition to a virtual team.
Whether in-person or remote, it’s important to define the team’s leadership. Someone needs to take the lead and be the driving force behind the team.
You’ll need to define someone who can coach, mentor, and chearlead the rest of the team, while working according to the preferences of the individual team members. Some employees prefer instant messaging while others will prefer video calls or emailed to-do lists.
While there are recommendations for building a successful virtual environment, it’s important to implement your own routines. Regularly check in with your team, ensure they understand the context of what they’re doing, and how their goals fit within the bigger picture.
New Digital Client Experiences
Along with remote business development, the entire client experience can now be digital as well.
Remote onboarding is part of the new digital client experience. The days of inefficient manual client relationships may not be completely gone, but they are significantly reduced. Electronic data transfer and signing serves to reduce errors and speed up the entire client experience.
Start with a remote sales funnel to generate and qualify your leads and create your proposals. After your online introductory session, sign engagement letters electronically. Then, after the work is complete your client can pay the fees remotely.
Trends in New Ways of Working
Even before the pandemic, work environments were shifting.
Automation coupled with offshoring and outsourcing grants teams a high degree of flexibility. This flexibility allows you and your employees space to put more effort into developing expertise and nurturing client relationships.
Now, instead of in-person travel and meetings (both with clients and internal), it’s virtual first. Especially in service industries, teams can work from anywhere they can get a stable internet connection. For most companies, production is still high and profitability has even increased.
Hiring, onboarding, and training new employees—especially in a virtual environment—is daunting for a business firm owner/partner. SAPRO pushes the envelope by:
- Providing you access to a pool of talented, experienced auditors
- Training them to meet your organization’s specific needs
- And even managing the team’s performance to ensure quality
Simply put, the new ways of working work. Especially when paired with partnering with SAPRO.
P.S. If you want to learn more about why audit firms trust us with providing the highest quality on-demand audit staff on a project basis, not just for your inventory observations, but your busy periods throughout the year, then schedule a free consultative call here.
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