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Streamlining Your Accounting Firm's Tech Stack: How to Fix Tech Stack Bloat
Accounting firms are embracing technology and investing heavily in their tech stacks. By leveraging technology, accounting firms are able to increase efficiency and accuracy, reduce costs, and provide clients with more comprehensive services. Additionally, the use of technology can help firms stay ahead of the competition, as well as provide better insights into the financial health of their clients.
While there are currently over 30,000 SaaS offerings available, that number is only going to grow. By 2028, the global enterprise software market is projected to reach $404 billion. As accounting firms continue to adopt new software and tools, it's easy for the technology stack to become bloated. Tech stack bloat occurs when an organization's technology stack accumulates too many software solutions over time, leading to inefficiencies in workflows, increased costs, and security risks.
In this article, we'll discuss why tech stack bloat is a problem for accounting firms and how they can streamline their tech stacks to improve efficiency.
Why is Tech Stack Bloat a Problem?
Tech stack bloat can have serious negative impacts on accounting firms. Here are a few reasons why:
Inefficiencies in Workflows
When an accounting firm's tech stack becomes bloated, staff may struggle to navigate multiple software solutions. This can result in inefficiencies in workflows and lost productivity. For example, if an accounting firm is using several different software solutions to help enter information into an accounting system, staff may need to switch between programs frequently to complete their tasks. This can slow down workflows and make it more difficult to stay organized.
A complex tech stack can be difficult to manage and maintain, especially if different software solutions do not integrate well with each other. This can lead to inefficiencies and errors that can negatively impact the quality of the services provided by the firm.
Most software solutions in an accounting firm's tech stack require licensing fees, training costs, and ongoing maintenance and support expenses. As a result, a bloated tech stack can lead to increased costs for the firm, especially if some of these technologies overlap with each other in functionality. This can be a particular problem for smaller accounting firms that may have limited budgets.
Each additional software solution in an accounting firm's tech stack increases the firm's attack surface and potential vulnerabilities. This can make it more difficult to ensure that sensitive client data is kept secure. With the increasing number of cyber-attacks in the accounting industry, it's important to reduce the risk of security breaches as much as possible.
In short, a bloated tech stack can lead to higher costs, decreased productivity, increased security risks, and reduced quality of service for accounting firms. It is important for accounting firms to carefully evaluate their tech stack and make sure they are using the most effective and efficient solutions for their needs.
How to Streamline Your Accounting Firm's Tech Stack
In today’s fast-paced business world, accounting firms are under increasing pressure to optimize their operations and increase efficiency. One area where accounting firms can achieve these goals is by streamlining their tech stack. But how exactly?
Here are a few tips for streamlining your accounting firm's tech stack:
Conduct a thorough audit of your existing tech stack
Before you can streamline your tech stack, you need to know what software solutions your firm is currently using. Conduct a thorough audit of your tech stack, including a review of all software solutions in use, the expense of the software to the firm, and an assessment of their impact on workflows, costs, and security.
Consolidate software solutions
Once you have a clear understanding of your current tech stack, you can begin the process of streamlining it. This may involve consolidating software solutions to reduce duplication and improve efficiency.
For example, if your accounting firm is using several different software solutions for expense tracking or cash flow management, you may be able to consolidate them into one solution that can do everything you need. This should be evaluated both within and across different service lines. Is there a tool one team is using that other teams could benefit from? Are different teams paying for tools that do very similar things that could be streamlined into a larger contract with one of the tools at better pricing? Do you have tools that you’re paying for but aren’t getting full usage out of that perhaps should be shared with other departments to maximize the investment?
Retire unused software solutions
As you're reviewing your tech stack, you may find that there are some software solutions that are no longer needed. These tools may have been useful in the past but are no longer necessary due to changes in the accounting firm's operations. Retiring these unused tools can help to reduce costs and streamline workflows.
Consider integrating tools
Many accounting tools can integrate with each other, eliminating the need for multiple tools. For example, an accounting firm can integrate their billing and payment processing tool with their accounting software.
Implement new software solutions
In some cases, it may be necessary to implement new software solutions to replace outdated or inefficient tools. When selecting new software solutions, it's important to involve staff in the decision-making process to ensure that their workflows are not negatively impacted by any changes. It’s also important to make sure that any new solutions easily integrate into the software you are consolidating and maintaining. For example, software that delivers an Excel workbook will easily fit into the tools a team is already using while a solution that requires a standalone dashboard with a unique login will be harder to integrate into existing processes.
Train employees on the tools
Nothing causes tech stack bloat quite like a tool that sits around unused. It is important to train employees on the tools they are expected to be using. This will help to ensure that they are using the tools correctly and efficiently, which can lead to increased productivity. If they’ve been involved with the selection process, this will be a lot easier since the team will already be eager to use the tool.
Establish guidelines for software purchases
To prevent tech stack bloat from occurring in the future, it's important to establish guidelines for software purchases. All the major players can’t be involved in every single tech purchase at large organizations, so to prevent redundancy and waste, it’s helpful if leadership and IT can provide guidelines that managers and directors can use when selecting tools for their teams. A directory of tools the firm already has licenses for could be helpful to include here in case different departments have similar needs (and the firm could potentially benefit from bulk licenses with the additional users.)
Even after completing each of these steps, the work isn’t done. New SaaS solutions will continuously be added, firm needs will evolve and change, and technology itself is changing at a dizzying pace. This entire process should be conducted regularly to ensure that all pieces of the tech stack are still meeting the needs of the firm. Ongoing audits and reviews should be made part of standard operating procedures. This gives your firm the best chance to ensure solid ROI on all of its tech purchases.
Get the Most from Your Accounting Tech Stack
Streamlining your accounting firm's tech stack can help to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and reduce the risk of security breaches. By conducting a thorough audit of your existing tech stack, consolidating software solutions, retiring unused tools, implementing new solutions, and establishing guidelines for software purchases, you can ensure that your accounting firm's tech stack is optimized for productivity and security.
Here are a few final thoughts to keep in mind:
Remember to involve staff in the decision-making process. They are the ones who will be using the software solutions on a daily basis, so it's important to ensure that any changes to the tech stack do not negatively impact their workflows.
Consider the impact of the tech stack on client experience. A bloated tech stack can lead to delays in completing work for clients, which can negatively impact their experience with the accounting firm.
Regularly review and update the tech stack to ensure that it remains optimized for productivity and security. As new software solutions become available, it's important to assess whether they are a good fit for your accounting firm's operations and workflows.
By following these tips, you can streamline your accounting firm's tech stack and improve efficiency, reduce costs, and reduce the risk of security breaches.
With our tool Strongbox, we’ve helped firms across the globe get more from their clients’ accounting systems while using their favorite tech stack solution: Excel. We’d love to talk more about how our integration can help you to slim down your tech stack, deliver insights faster, price more accurately, and get to work more quickly across a variety of service lines at your firm.