Skip to main content

Firm Management

Is Your Technology Planning Process in Alignment?

The fact that technology is part of everything we do to run our firms and serve clients is why your Chief Information Officer (CIO) or technology leader should have a seat at the management table. To truly align the technology plan, the leader ...

Technology 21 1  54bfe611dadbc

Technology is ubiquitous in our lives. It is engrained in almost everything we do to complete our daily tasks and serve our clients. For this reason, you must ensure that your firm is squarely focused on a technology planning process that is aligned with the overall firm strategy and vision. Only then can technology be an accelerator toward your firm’s success and future readiness.

A Seat at the Table

The fact that technology is part of everything we do to run our firms and serve clients is why your Chief Information Officer (CIO) or technology leader should have a seat at the management table. To truly align the technology plan, the leader must understand the firm’s vision and what they are trying to achieve. Only then can they set a strategic technology roadmap that supports those aspirations.

So what do the CIOs bring to the table? A lot. Here are the top five areas where strong IT leaders can lend their valuable capabilities:

  • Different Perspective
  • Technology Savviness
  • Strong Leadership
  • Project Management Skills
  • Innovative Mindset

Technology savviness is the skill most firms look at, but there is so much more to a strong technology leader. An IT leader must have at least a baseline understanding of all aspects of the firm. While they shouldn’t be expected to be an expert in all seven of these areas, they should have the opportunity to learn and develop these skills.

  • Business Savvy – Understanding the firm’s strategy, management and economic engine and bridging the gap with technology.
  • Marketing & Sales – Building buy-in to new technology projects and initiatives requires an of understanding basic marketing & sales concepts.
  • Communication – Ability to effectively communicate throughout the firm. Not simply about feature and function of technology but on the business impact and value of the solution.
  • Human Resources – Great CIOs build a team of IT professionals to deliver resources to the firm (internal and external sources). They identify and assist in the development of IT training requirements at all levels of the firm. Recruiting, hiring and managing a team of top level talent requires at least a baseline understanding of human resources and personnel development.
  • Project Management – Manage priority projects to ensure success, on time completion and adherence to budget. IT professionals tend to be highly skilled in this area already and should be leveraged to train the firm’s staff, managers and partners on project management basics.
  • Budgeting & Cash Flow – The ability to step back and see the big picture for the firm in financial terms is critical to establishing priorities, budgeting and projecting cash flow.
  • Strategy & Planning – Have an interest and be given the opportunity to contribute to the strategic direction of the firm and integrate the technology plan with that vision and strategy.

Technology as a Strategic Asset

Successful firms view technology as a strategic asset rather than overhead or a cost of doing business. This simple yet powerful mindset is important to having a solid technology plan. Firms that think this way rarely look at projects as simply technology projects but rather as firm projects. They involve both IT and non-IT resources to leverage technology as an accelerator to accomplish their goals. They typically have an IT steering committee with balanced representation from all levels and functional areas of the firm and look outside their own organization by joining peer groups that can fast-track their learning and progress.

Alignment of Processes & Technology

Process and technology go hand in hand. You need to take an integrated approach to analyzing both in tandem. Technology doesn’t fix bad processes. It might make them faster and widespread, but it doesn’t fix them. Successful firms are using formalized methodologies like Lean Six Sigma and Agile to take a step back and analyze how the work gets done before they throw the latest and greatest technology at it. They are intentionally slowing down to go fast. You must first understand the process before you can identify the opportunities where technology can allow you to automate and increase efficiency.

Formula for a Future Ready Firm

A firm’s success and future readiness are not determined by technology alone. We believe the simple yet powerful formula of Planning + People + Processes x Technology = High-Performance Firm. Firms that focus on all of these areas and possess a culture of accountability continually outperform the competition. Is your firm future ready?


See inside October 2016

Streamlined Sales Tax: What Small Businesses Need to Know

If your small business clients are trying to figure out how to deal with sales tax, there is a lot of alphabet soup to learn. Here’s one more: SST, which stands for Streamlined Sales Tax. This program can offer valuable sales-tax collection resources ...


How Accounting Firms Benefit From Moving to Client Portals

As more people of all ages rely on mobile apps and devices to manage their daily tasks, online portals are becoming an effective method of sharing and exchanging files and information. They support two-way communications in a simple, secure format ...