Implementing new audit software can be a lot like deciding to head out on a long road trip or adventuring to another part of the world. The fruits of such an expedition could be plentiful, but in order to pull it off successfully there are a great many preparations needed first.
Charting a smooth course, either on the open seas or at your audit firm, is an exciting opportunity for explorers and tax professionals alike. And, with the right plan in place, the benefits will be measurable and significant. Here, we will talk through some best practices when implementing new audit software solutions as well as some common pitfalls that can arise throughout the process.
Keeping tabs on the evolving audit technology landscape
As the evolution of audit software continues to rapidly unfold, it becomes progressively easier to quantify the benefits of that evolution. We are watching, in real time, firms successfully streamline accounting practices, boost productivity, and bolster their bottom lines with the adoption and implementation of new technologies.
As such, unsurprisingly, 70% of all companies in the U.S. have a “digital transformation strategy” already in place, notes Boston University’s (BU) The Blog Chain.
This transformation, though, does come with some inherent challenges. As such, it is helpful not only to keep tabs on the ways technology can boost efficiency but also the potential growing pains associated with adopting it. Among some of the considerations audit firms might want to consider include: solutions vetting, expectation setting, change management, training, and onboarding.
Here are some tips to help you chart a smooth course as you navigate the implementation of new audit tech at your firm.
How to choose the right audit solution for your needs
When selecting new software or other tech products, it can be helpful to approach the decision the same way you might if you were considering a new hire or material acquisition. Think about what role it is going to play and if it’s going to accomplish everything you need it to accomplish. In other words, will this new piece of technology fit with existing software? How will it connect/interact/fit with the rest of your firm’s tech stack?
In the tax and accounting space, there are some great tech solutions that can help ensure a smooth transition between existing tools and new software. One such option comes by way of Application Programming Interfaces or APIs. APIs are a powerful bridge between tech solutions, and they frequently help staff complete work more efficiently, streamline data input, and protect the integrity of stored data. These support things like simplified tax filings, which, in turn, improve the value of your services and your firm.
Common pitfalls of implementing new audit technology
There are lots of ways to get blown off course as you work toward implementing new audit software. Some common mistakes include:
- Inadequate planning
- Lack of employee training
- Choosing the wrong solution altogether
From the planning stage through research, purchase, and implementation – a holistic approach that considers costs at each stage, the human resource commitment needed, and employee satisfaction usually covers all the bases. Conversely, a piecemeal jump that glosses over these considerations can be disruptive and wasteful.
Another easy mistake to make is treating the technology like it’s being implemented in a vacuum; it’s not. Real people are going to be using it, and some may need a little more attention than others when it comes to utilizing the solutions. Some people will adapt quickly, and others may need more help adjusting to the change.
“In reality, many employees become frustrated by the implementation process of new technologies in an organization. The actual usage of new technology can be patchy due to poor buy-in or lack of training, and an inability of new technologies to work seamlessly with existing technology sometimes means internal processes do not improve at all,” reads the BU publication.
This is avoidable. For that reason, it is extremely beneficial to involve key stakeholders and internal champions from all levels of the organization in the review and selection process. Additionally, it can be just as important to ensure there is an effective training program in place to get everyone up to speed. Good training is critical to the success of any tech implementation, and for that reason, it can be especially helpful to have effective partnerships in place to facilitate initial training and onboarding. In addition, having an accessible partner to provide ongoing support will be invaluable to the success of the implementation.
The future of audit is embracing technology
The positive impact of implementing new technology for your audit firm is immeasurable.
It’s important to have a solid plan in place at inception, and the above-noted considerations can help you craft one.
To learn more about Thomson Reuters audit solutions, and to explore how they can be that valuable partner for your firm, download the “3 keys to the future of audit” white paper available now.
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