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Client Demand for Digital Technology in Forensic Accounting
Updated: Oct 4, 2022
Customer expectations across all sectors and industries are evolving at a fast pace. Forensic accounting firms looking to stay competitive and meet the client demand in this environment will need rapid, advanced technological innovations to be central to their broader strategy.
According to Forbes and KPMG Insights, “Forensic auditing tech in a digital future is analogous to Moore’s Law, named for Intel co-founder Gordon Moore. Just as he contended that integrated circuit power would double every two years, new accounting technologies are developing much more quickly today than ever before.”
The Covid-19 pandemic only exacerbated this trend, accelerating both the speed and client expectation for digital transformations in accounting firms. Digital forensic accounting software can help firms to meet these client expectations.
Covid Changed Expectations on B2B Interactions
One of the first and fastest changes Covid brought about was distance. Suddenly, being in a company’s office was not an option for forensic accountants and auditors. The pandemic saw a dramatic demand for online channels, driving companies and entire industries to respond in turn. Prior to Covid, roughly 41% of customer interactions in North America were digital. That number jumped to 65% by July 2020, accelerating adoption rates by 3 years.
These customer changes are not temporary. Even with the social distancing mandates eased, people still expect to be able to interact via digital channels, and they’ll expect the same from the B2B firms they work with.
B2B customer nature specifically has changed in the last two years, transcending traditional industry borders. Your clients won’t just compare their experience with your firm to that of other firms they’ve engaged, but they’ll also compare you to the best customer experiences they’ve had in any industry. 81% of B2B buyers, like those hiring forensic accounting firms, would choose a supplier that offers a consumer-like experience over an otherwise similar alternative that does not.
In the forensic accounting world, this means both your clients and/or the company that is subject to your investigation will likely expect a completely digital experience.
Firms are Investing in Digital
In a study conducted by McKinsey & Company, nearly all respondents claimed that funding for digital initiatives grew during the Covid-accelerated digitalization of their business, and this funding grew at a far greater number than other metrics like costs and customers. 62% of companies had to deal with an increasing customer demand for online services. In the end, Covid accelerated the share of digital or digitally enabled products and services companies offered by seven years.
While a positive customer experience has always been central to most firms’ strategies, there’s a definite trend for a digital customer experience, with 37% of IT initiatives now focused on improving customer experience. To keep up with these demands, a Forbes Insights report found that 67% of executives are looking for increased technology skills from their auditors.
Benefits of digitalization extend beyond an improved customer experience. The top two benefits companies see when adopting a digital model are improving operational efficiency and meeting changing customer expectations. To meet the urgent digital demand, companies undertook the expenses of eliminating the pre-Covid bottlenecks like implementing data security and switching to the cloud.
With those bottlenecks out of the way and the time/money already invested, there’s no reason to return to the old ways. Maximizing the digital investment means maintaining a technology strategy that can rise to the expectations of the evolving client. Forensic accounting technology can ensure that firms can meet these demands.
How Forensic Accounting Firms Can Meet Client’s Digital Demands
In the accounting industry, client demand for technology extends beyond being able to do a Zoom meeting. Digitally gathering clean financial data and being able to parse and analyze that data quickly based on investigation criteria is how you can transform client delivery for your forensic accounting group.
Using digital gathering gives forensic accountants instant access to all financial documents a business has within an accounting system rather than limiting efforts to sampling. Add machine learning to the equation, then forensic accountants and their business clients gain access to more real-time insights that can help uncover hidden assets, protect against risk, spot potential fraud or anomalous activity, and ultimately, empower the business to make more informed decisions.
Technology like Strongbox gives forensic accountants the ability to collect and examine 100% of transactions rather than just a sample, at a pace unimageable a decade ago. With Strongbox, parsing out key details for an investigation no longer requires the data manipulation to be done by hand (or many hands!). Instead, Strongbox connects directly to accounting software and ERPs, delivering forensically checked data to Excel in minutes. Machine learning applied to the data gives forensic accountants a much more comprehensive, meaningful view into a business.
Digital software is the only way for a firm to meet the increased client demand for speed, accuracy, real-time information, and transaction-level detailed investigations.
Strongbox: Forensic Accounting Technology that Exceeds Client Demand
Client expectations in the post-Covid digital world are becoming increasingly exacting. At Strongbox, we’ve helped half of the Top 25 accounting firms in their digital transformations to meet their evolving client demands. Contact us today to see how forensic accounting software can amplify the results your team can deliver to your clients.