Introducing new accounting software to your firm can bring a host of benefits – improving recoverability, efficiency gains, capacity for more clients – and help you achieve the goals for your firm.
That’s all great, but if your team members don’t resonate with the new tech, those benefits won’t be realised. Here’s how you can ensure the team members in your firm buy into any new accounting software you roll out.
Speak with team members first
Before you take the plunge and add any new software to your firm, take the pulse of your team members. This is important to gauge their appetite for change, better understand the challenges they have and if they’re already aware of tech which might help your firm reach its business goals.
As you well know, change isn’t always welcome – but don’t let a lack of appetite for change become a barrier which stops you entirely. This step is all about understanding what needs doing to get your team members bought in, as well as showing you’re interested in their opinion and value their input in the process.
Show the economic and rational benefits
Accountants are logical individuals who understand finances, two assets that can work in your favour when introducing new tech. For example, show them how accounting software can improve recoverability of work and increase the profitability of the firm – that might even translate into the introduction of or the increasing of bonuses.
On the rational side of things, accounting software can take team members away from manual tasks such as data entry. This then gives them the opportunity to work more closely with clients and grow their skills in other areas of accounting, which will become increasingly sought after by your own firm as technology continues to develop.
Be transparent throughout the buying process
Being open and honest with your team members throughout the buying process helps to make them feel involved even before any purchasing decision has been made. We’re hardwired to fear the unknown so any insight you can give about the potential arrival of your accounting software will stop team members from making their own assumptions or spreading rumour.
This is important, especially if the accounting software you choose is designed to automate aspects of the work they do – such as the processing of client paperwork and associated data entry. Being transparent shows that you’re including them in the process, and that this tech isn’t here to replace them. Depending on your timelines, provide regular updates and open the floor to any questions which your team members might have. The more you can do to reassure in the early stages, the smoother the adoption process will be post-purchase.
Run pilots to choose the right tech
As many accounting software providers offer a free trial, this is a great way to see which tech will work best for your firm. It also gives team members the chance to work with the product hands on and offer up their thoughts – getting them involved in the process even more. And after the trial, gather feedback to see which software solution brought the most value.
If your firm operates in a vertical or portfolio structure, you could give each team a different free trial to work with and see who has the most success. Does it appear to meet or exceed their needs? How does it compare with the current ways of working? And ultimately, does it make that department more efficient?
Provide training which resonates
Once you’ve chosen your preferred software, it’s vital to ensure your team members know how to use it. This is where providing the right training will help ensure everyone is fully bought into your new accounting software.
From your experience, how do people in your firm resonate best with training? It’s possible you’ll have a mix of individuals who prefer to get stuck in themselves, those who like to watch tutorial videos online and some who want to be shown in person. For example, we provide full training for any firm who becomes a Dext partner. This includes a range of resources and people who work with you to ensure your team members are taught how to use the software in ways that work best for them.
Create a team of champions
It’s also important to have a team of champions who are advocates of your new accounting software. And it’s a good idea to have a mix of seniority within that team, especially if you want it to permeate through all levels of your firm.
When recruiting your champions, it’s a good idea to include people who aren’t tech lovers in general. It’s likely you’ll have some early adopters who will naturally see the benefits of accounting software, and only having them as your champions could create more of a divide. Having people who don’t consider themselves the most tech savvy as champions too will better spread the benefits to those who have similar views on new software.
Ingrain new tech into the everyday
With your new accounting software in place, it’s a good idea to ingrain it into the everyday workflow as soon as possible. This doesn’t mean mandating that everyone must use it and those who don’t will be reprimanded. Far from it. Team members who don’t flock to the new solution will soon see that they are being less productive than colleagues who do.
For example, if you’ve implemented a solution like Dext, the teams which use it’s full functionality won’t need to chase clients for paperwork or spend their time manually inputting data. They’ll become more productive, improve their recoverability and hit more of their goals. Those still working in the old way will soon take note and adopt your new tech.
Reward those who adopt early
Friendly competition never hurt anyone, and you can use that in your firm to bring an element of fun and reward to using your new accounting software. Set goals within your firm which you can rank teams against and have them compete.
If one of your goals is improving recoverability, rank teams based on who improves theirs the most. Similarly, you might want to make a competition out of who reduces the time it takes to process client paperwork. These are just two ideas and you can no doubt think of ways to incentivise team members based on the goals of your firm.
Main points to remember
Make sure you…
- Show how any new accounting software will benefit both the firm and its team members
- Be transparent and involve your people as much as possible to build trust
- Incentivise participation and reward those who use the tech to achieve your firm’s goals
Make sure you don’t…
- Choose software which is too confusing and cumbersome – ensure your team members trial all options available
- Leave out influential people in the firm – get senior members involved to set a precedent
- Reprimand those who don’t get involved straight away – reward people and give them the time to see the benefits for themselves