Digital Transformation Today

Effectively Handling Change Management In Your Accounting and Advisory Firm

If you wish to remain competitive, the introduction of cloud-based technologies into your accounting advisory firm will soon become inevitable, if you haven’t begun migrating away from legacy systems already. When implementing any new technology, one of the most common challenges firms face is learning how to effectively handle change management.

Why Change Management is a Challenge for CPAs
By nature, the consultants that work within the professional services industry are usually reluctant to change. The current systems that most firms are using have been around for decades, so they feel familiar, and many advisors are concerned that the implementation of new technologies will severely disrupt their client relations, workflow and negatively impact firm profits. Typically, when we engage in a cloud migration discussion with a CPA firm, we must first disprove the following common misconceptions:

1. Migrating to the cloud causes unnecessary distress, so it’s not worth it
This absolutely does not have to be the case. When considering a cloud implementation, engage with a partner who’ll work with leadership to develop a technology roadmap that aligns with overarching strategic plans. Having a roadmap will keep the cloud migration moving smoothly, with minimal disruption to day-to-day activities. The plan should outline which individuals are responsible for what, address clearly defined S.M.A.R.T. goals, and have a defined timeline with hard deadlines.

2. Clients aren’t asking us to move to the cloud, so it’s not a priority
Something we often hear from leadership is that, “Clients aren’t asking us to be in the cloud, so why should it matter?” They’re partially right; clients aren’t asking to be in the cloud, they expect you to already be. What clients crave is ease of use and improved usability. They don’t care whether the tools they interact with are offered on-premises, or in the cloud, so long as they have access to the capabilities and information they desire.

3. The security and privacy of the cloud can’t be trusted yet
One of the most widely expressed concerns surrounding cloud system integration is the perceived lack of security and privacy. Most people are misguided in thinking that proprietary and sensitive information, like PII data, is more secure in a brick and mortar capacity than online. Given the monumental strides that companies like Microsoft have made in setting strict standards for cybersecurity, it is actually safer to store information in the cloud than in an office file room, where it’s much harder to limit and restrict access.

Is your CPA firm considering a cloud migration? Speak with one of the advisory experts at Withum to get help handling your implementation, roll-out, and adoption. Contact us online, or give us a call at 240.406.9916.

How to Handle Change Management Like a Pro

The best way to help your CPA firm handle change management is to engage with an experienced advisory partner. The Withum approach to cloud migration and implementation includes:

  • Meeting with partners to understand both long- and short-term goals
  • Aligning with IT to understand where things stand, and where they need to be
  • Developing a comprehensive strategic roadmap and implementation timeline
  • Helping firms choose the right tools and technologies to facilitate changes efficiently
  • Working with leadership to hire the necessary talent for troubleshooting and upkeep

Partner Retreats and User Adoption Workshops
Organizing partner retreats and user adoption workshops are a key driver in helping both senior leadership and departmental teams become informed on organizational changes, align on expectations, and discuss questions and concerns.

Partner retreats create an outlet for c-level management to talk through the potential pathways a firm can take as it moves to the cloud and expands into other advisory services. At Withum, we facilitate retreats, act as speakers, and provide a logistical framework to help firms achieve the success they desire. Focus groups, as well as user adoption and training sessions can help teams transition to new processes, become familiar with new tools, and learn how to upsell current clients into new advisory opportunities.

The move to the cloud is unavoidable. To ensure your transition is a success, plan ahead, over-communicate, and engage with a dedicated and experienced cloud partner like Withum.

Looking to set up a partner retreat? Speak with a consultant at Withum today. Contact us online, or give us a call at 240.406.9916.

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