- Online tools help firms of all sizes be more agile
- Clients expect accountants to be tech-savvy
- Small firms can easily collaborate with other firms online
- CA Catalyst offers new ways of building business relationships
Staying agile is often imperative for fast-moving businesses dealing with rapidly changing competitive environments.
Kylie Parker CA knows all about being agile. With background interests in art and dance, Parker made an instinctive choice to study accounting because she wanted something with certainty and good job prospects. At one stage, as part of a dance cabaret show, she was booked to go on a cruise, but then she realised it clashed with her first tax exam.
"I chose the tax exam over the cruise," says Parker. And that was that.
Through her work in big firms and in her own practice, Parker has still brought her passion for the arts into her work by specialising in entertainment. But more than anything else, Parker has seen that the pace of change in the industry over recent years means she needs to be up on the latest technologies to serve clients effectively.
"I could see the future of accounting was online," says Parker. "It's a deliberate choice to have a small firm and be quite nimble, optimising the technology that's available."
"I think technology is changing the role of Chartered Accountants. So traditionally where it was more compliance-based, now it's about how you interpret that data and how you communicate it."
Stay up to date with new approaches
Parker doesn't mince words when discussing the importance of being a tech-savvy accountant for her clients, comparing older, slower approaches to arriving at a doctor's surgery and being offered leeches to treat a blood infection.
"If your back end is not efficient and you're rekeying data then you're wasting client money and your own time. You could be doing things that are much better value."
She reports some tasks that once took six weeks can now be completed in four days thanks to automation through tools like Sharesight and Xero.
"If people haven't started on their digital transformation journey yet, or even if they personally don't want to do that, there'll be someone in the office who is keen. So find that person and have them become a champion for the clients you're ready to move online. Quite often you'll find your staff members are curious about new technologies and how they'll shape their future careers. If you're not letting them progress through with that, then one, you're potentially going to lose good staff, and two, you're missing an opportunity."
Learning from the CA Catalyst community
For those worried about getting transformation right, there are many ways to engage with the wider CA network to get the guidance and support you need, through the CA Catalyst community."
I think there is a concern now about not just the data overload but also app overload. There are so many programs out there that it can cause a kind of paralysis," says Parker.
"That's where opportunities like CA Catalyst provide a lot of opportunity, because at the end of the day you want to know a new program is going to work, so you can turn to the people you trust most – your peers – who are already using it."
"Once you've decided you are going to change, delegate that responsibility and actually get out of their way and let them make those choices. Because to not change is going to be worse than anything they're going to do."
Cloud technology allows firms to reimagine the office
Through a highly digital approach, Parker has built a practice which partners with other CAs and finance professionals without needing to be part of a big office environment.
"In the past you used to have to be in an office because that was where all the information was. Now it's in the cloud and so you can work remotely."
With this in mind, Parker finds CA Catalyst a wonderful new way to feel connected with the wider CA community while maintaining her flexibility.
"CA Catalyst is about the community, it's about building opportunities together."
Join the CA Catalyst Community
Learn from and collaborate with other like-minded CAs by joining the CA Catalyst Community.Find Out More