As we all know, life has not been straightforward for your average accountant since the onset of the pandemic. As trusted advisers to small businesses, it’s fallen on them to juggle multiple expectations, ranging from keeping up with rapidly-changing legislation, understanding stimulus packages and a general increase in demand for their advice. At the same time, a shortage of skilled migration and a general revaluation of people’s working lives has caused a massive skills shortage in the profession.
These are some of the issues that were highlighted when Dext commissioned Momentum Intelligence and Accountants Daily to survey hundreds of accountants and bookkeepers across the country.
As well as clearly showing where the pressures on accountants are coming from – both at a practice and personal level – the Australian Accounting Tech Report highlighted the amount of time that is being used unnecessarily. In fact, the survey showed accountants and bookkeepers are spending an average 1.4 hours a day performing tasks that they believe could be handled by technology. At the same time, the biggest barrier to adopting this technology is lack of time to research solutions, selected by 44 per cent of respondents. And 42 per cent of respondents named improving efficiency through systems and technology as a top challenge for their practice.
So, the research clearly shows the time pressures on accountants, and also that they lack the time to research and implement systems that would save them time.
It’s what we call the time/tech conundrum.
Looking into tech fatigue
As we look towards possible solutions to this conundrum, we can first consider the phenomenon of ‘tech fatigue’.
Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of survey respondents said they felt overwhelmed with the technology platforms they already have. This is hardly surprising when you consider the sheer number they are using.
Well over half (59 per cent) of firms are using two or more different accounting platforms, while nearly 40 per cent are using three or more and nearly 20 per cent are using four or five. In addition, there are a multitude of other technologies being employed at accounting and bookkeeping firms, such as tax tools, digital signing and payment services.
At the same time as being overwhelmed by what they already have, there’s also external pressure, with 54 per cent feeling overwhelmed with the sheer number of technologies available on the market and 64 per cent feeling pressure to stay up-to-date with the latest technology.
Overcoming this fatigue and tackling the time/tech conundrum requires a range of tactics. Firstly, putting proper thought into what technology your firm really needs by identifying a few areas for improvement and focusing on them, rather than trying to take every solution that comes along. Then, making sure they have a clear plan for implementation, including staff and client buy-in.
That way, they can focus on taking back some much-needed time in their day, relieve their personal stress and concentrate on high-value work that will make their practice stronger in the long term.
Are you interested in hearing more about this research? Join our webinar at 11am on Wednesday, 15 June, where industry experts and practitioners will discuss the results and potential solutions to these challenges. Or, click here to register for a copy of the report when it’s available.