It’s never a bad time to make a fresh start and review habits and goals for your firm. All practices use a digital ecosystem to ensure the successful running of their business. Taking the time to ensure that yours is working for you in the most optimal way helps free time for yourself and maximises value.
As we’re facing a tough financial year, it is crucial to tackle operational decisions within your firm and ensure you thrive.
What are Digital Ecosystems?
You may already be familiar with the term ‘digital ecosystem’ and ‘tech stack’, because the terms are interchangeable. Digital ecosystems are the combination of technologies a practice uses to build and run its operations.
When we think about our digital ecosystems it is worth considering each of the different functions and procedures within a practice, whether analogue or digital.
Map your Own Digital Ecosystem
Whatever technology you may use, take the opportunity to map out what you use and how you use it.
Flowcharting with a pen and paper is a simple way to map your digital ecosystem and identify clearly all the technology you use. Consider what the process is of working with a client. Strip down each process to determine how you currently perform each function of your firm. How do you onboard? How do you offer management accounts? All the while, consider where the bottlenecks may be in your practice.
Reassessing and improving
While mapping out your practice’s processes, you will no doubt become aware of some of the pain points that exist. This is a perfect time to assess whether the software you are using is the best for you.
At this point in the process, it is useful to think about two things.
Firstly, consider where you want to be in 12 months’ time and secondly where your team needs to work better together if you're to get there.
Secondly, take the opportunity to understand the capabilities of your current existing system. Work out what the technology at hand can do for you and how efficient it can be. For example, reinvestigate the core practice platforms for accounting, bookkeeping and practice management. New solutions are always under research: GoProposal and Ignition look to streamline client engagements whilst making sure you get paid for all the work you do - AutoEntry ensure less time is spent on data collection and processing.
Prioritise what process you need to improve upon first. There’s no point replacing some software within your digital ecosystem only to find out that you weren’t using the original programme to its full potential.
What can an effective digital ecosystem do for a firm?
A great digital ecosystem addresses some key issues that accountancy firms face. Short-term thinking can be prohibitive to significantly improve practices’ performances. We get stuck in the same routines and don’t take the opportunity to take a step back.
A holistic digital ecosystem, on the other hand, opens the door to advanced advisory. Not only are these opportunities highly lucrative, but they are also the aspects of accounting that colleagues are most excited by. In a period where employee retention is a significant challenge, it is integral that practices consider how they can improve their client offerings and create a dynamic place to work in.
Drive your Advisory Offering with Technology that works for you
By processing your forecasting in Futrli you automate error-prone, time-consuming manual spreadsheet activities. This allows you to spend more time with your client providing critical, value-adding advice that could transform your client's business and help achieve their specific goals.
Our recent release of drag-and-drop reporting removes the hassle from reports. Reporting is now almost effortless. Sync your clients’ Quickbooks Online, Sage or Xero account and see all their data in one place.
Run your clients through different what-if scenarios in our prediction builder. Let them see how their businesses will be affected by their decisions in pricing, expansion, and spending.
Above all, don’t let manual processes dominate your tech stack. If something takes hours to perform in Excel, consider the alternatives. Spend time with your clients, coming up with advisory solutions; instead of in the formula bar.