Innovation in accounting is about technologyAlina Făniță
Innovation is not simple when in a profession everything you do is guided by rules, regulations, and canons. This is also the case with the accounting profession. Not that you can’t innovate at all, but that the mentality practiced over time stops the practitioner of this profession from doing it. But technology is changing this paradigm. The rules and regulations remain strict, but you can innovate by using technology.
Now, more than ever, technology allows accountants and tax consultants to connect more effectively with their clients through integrated collaborative software platforms. Technology does not replace them, but rather offers them more opportunities to do their job through closer communication with customers.
Platforms such as Skype, Teams, or Zoom have allowed us all to talk to our customers anytime in 2020 while providing virtual face-to-face communication – crucial when it comes to clarifying data or complex transactions. These technologies have made it possible to provide relevant accounting and tax advice, in real-time, at the same time, while maintaining the human connection.
Thus, technology has given us the ability to spend time creating connections and providing real-time consulting, even when customers need it.
Therefore, to trigger innovation in a company, especially an accounting one, you need to create a culture of innovation based on technology. As technology brings huge potential, to build a culture of innovation we need to consider the following five steps:
Build an infrastructure for innovation
Many ideas can be generated by members of an organization, but if they do not have the necessary testing framework, only ideas remain. That is why infrastructure is needed to support the testing or implementation of these ideas. As bureaucratic as it may seem, the creation of a team dedicated to innovation, led by the Director-General with the role of evaluation, support, and coordination, is a first step towards formalizing the innovation process that could otherwise fail in time, exhaustion and disappointment.
Innovation is not always about originality
Not all people are Leonardo Da Vinci, but it’s good to be creative. That is why in the process of ideation people with different roles and experiences can be brought together. Sometimes, by recombining and reorienting simple ideas, solutions with an impact similar to inventing completely new things can be generated.
Maintain a tonic mentality of the beginning
Every new day should be seen as a new beginning for the innovation process. Any situation is a new opportunity to look for a new solution to an old problem. Processes can always be improved, and such an approach helps employees to prioritize the outcome over the process, learning to make decisions quickly and be focused on customer needs.
Learn from every failure, on the road to innovation
It is very difficult to dislodge the mentality formed in the first years of school that it is bad to make mistakes, but still, in innovation, every idea takes you one step closer to an exceptional discovery. Moreover, through this approach, colleagues come to understand that they can put all their ideas on the table without fear of being wrong or being judged by others.
Include all employees in the process
There will always be employees who will perform better than others, but the result of innovation is better when everyone contributes or aims to be innovative. This approach is important for those who are in contact with customers. But here too, good guidance and coaching of people to be innovative are important. Innovation is not made to order. The framework, the process have their role in guiding employees and training their ability to be innovative in the use of technology.
So for employees to be innovative, a solid organizational culture oriented towards innovation is needed. If people are open to new and different, to change and relevance to the customer, the chances increase that innovation will be generated in the company. Innovation is not attached to a position or seniority in the company. It may come from an accounting software vendor, a young technology-friendly audit firm, or an external consultant.
Beyond the general character of the five steps remains the need to orient the accounting profession towards the future, towards technological innovation and change. If no one has tried the proposed idea, it does not mean that it is bad and must be radically rejected. Digital photography has not been adopted by Kodak either.
Alina Făniță este CEO și Partener al PKF Finconta. A lucrat cu companii multinaționale sau firme antreprenoriale din domenii diverse de activitate, pentru a le oferi servicii de audit financiar, due diligence, restructurări de grupuri, audit intern și alte servicii conexe activității de control intern. Este membră a celor mai prestigioase asociații profesionale din domeniu: ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), CECCAR (Corpul Experților Contabili și Contabililior Autorizați din România), CAFR (Camera Auditorilor Financiari) și IIA (Institute of Internal Auditors). A absolvit EMBA Asebuss la Kennesaw State University, a fost trainer pentru cursuri IFRS și este invitată ca expert la numeroase conferințe de business. email@example.com