Is I.T. keeping you awake at night?

30 June 2011

Jerry Rihll, managing director, accounting firms Thomson Reuters EMEA, posed the question to an invited panel of accountants at a recent round-table discussion to look at whether the next generation of technology is delivering on its promise to allow the profession to work smarter. Jerry has spent the last twenty five years living and breathing IT since founding Digita, an award winning accountancy practice software developer, yet some of the responses surprised him.

The issues ranged from poor bandwidth and the ineffectiveness of 3G to an ongoing frustration of poor integration which hinders the use of data as an asset to support growth. The theme of integration was central throughout the discussion and it quickly became apparent that one of the greatest dilemmas accountants currently face is whether to sacrifice best-of-breed systems for a fully integrated package that can share data.

One accountant told the group that his firm had switched from a best-of-breed system in 2003 to an integrated system and although it made them more efficient; they chose the wrong system. They were forced to change again this year; this time to Digita.

Jerry said that ‘adopting the integrated route doesn’t have to mean putting up with a lesser system’. Digita has created something of an anomaly in the practice arena by providing real choice – its highly respected packages can be used either as part of an integrated suite or as stand-alone packages that integrate with third parties. In an independent review by the IT Faculty of the ICAEW, Digita Accounts Production is said to be a ‘sound choice for a firm looking for a best of breed solution but still wanting to have the option of moving to a fully integrated suite later.’

The discussion moved on to point out that it’s is not just the system that needs to be chosen carefully, it is also the supplier. Several taking part had fallen foul of the consolidation in the market place and had seen their systems disappear. The consensus was that it is important to look for a supplier that can ‘keep up the pace’.

The panel agreed that the pace of change in IT and the potentially huge challenges presented by it can cause sleepless nights, but for those who embrace the pace of change, it is helping to manage new demands and provide significant opportunities.

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