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New Year’s data revolution: Streamlining your practice with data in 2021

Jan 1, 2021 | Advisors

Data is the most valuable commodity for every business today – no matter what industry you’re in. For accounting practices that haven’t already taken the leap, now is the time to embrace data and accelerate your success in 2021. Here are some reasons why.

1. Data insights lead to greater productivity

There’s a reason why Fortune 500 companies are investing tens of billions of dollars into big data solutions – because over the long term it is helping them not just save money, but make their teams more productive.

Analysing workplace data patterns also allows decision-makers to change from a reactive mindset (i.e. taking a task from a ‘slow’ worker and giving it to someone else) to a proactive mindset (i.e. delegating tasks to the appropriate people according to historic data patterns).

2. Data can eliminate time-consuming, repetitive tasks

Like any industry that requires significant administrative duties, accountants have in the past been notorious for spending huge portions of their days on repetitive, time-consuming tasks. What this means, however, is that the client doesn’t always get the attention that they need, and the practice itself is spending money on admin rather than the technical skills their accountants were hired for.

By leveraging the power of your data, you can uncover the tasks your people are wasting the most time on – and then deploy an automation solution that takes those jobs away from humans entirely. From client onboarding to workflow production to invoicing and everything in between, data can free up your people to focus on far more important tasks.

3. Data is your most useful marketing tool

In the days before the internet, marketing was often a matter of try, try and try again. Thankfully, data-driven solutions mean you can explore customer trends, dive into new market segments, see what your competitors are doing and find out exactly what it is your clients want from your firm.

With the right accounting practice management software, you collect and manage all your client data, which can be used to inform targeted marketing efforts. Use simple tools to extract valuable customer data, and then reach out to your target audience armed with the appropriate marketing strategy.

What level of data maturity are you at?

Every practice is on its own data journey, and you might actually be further down the road than you think. Here are the generally accepted five stages of data maturity:

  1. Access: Your practice collects some data and uses it for reference purposes, but it’s rarely employed as part of your wider decision-making process.
  2. Consolidation: You recognise that your data streams are disparate and siloed, and you’re taking steps to consolidate them into one centralised platform – preferably a solution that lives in the cloud.
  3. Reports: You use your data to generate valuable reports, which are disseminated to your teams. These may be used for decision-making, but without a data governance program the value of your data remains unclear.
  4. Alerts: When data indicates that your practice is on a certain trajectory – whether positive or negative – your data solution sends alerts directly to key decision-makers. This allows for rapid response and may ultimately thwart any risk of monetary losses or reputational damage.
  5. Holistic: Your practice uses its data in every aspect of the business. Measure, report, respond and improve are natural cycles in your firm’s day-to-day. Truly, yours is a data-driven culture.

While step five is clearly the holy grail of embracing data, it will take a substantial investment of time and money to reach that point. The reward, however, is that you are now a proactive practice led by clear data trends, rather than reactive and reliant on gut instinct.

For a full whitepaper with detailed information on how to find true power in data, download it here.

If you’re ready to embrace all the benefits of being a data-driven accounting practice, contact the experts at APS today. We’ll work directly with you to understand your specific needs and set you on the path to deriving real value from your data.

To find out more about APS software, visit www.aps-software.com.

APS is a division of Reckon, an ASX listed company. We develop the software used by the best Accounting Firms in Australia and New Zealand to run their business’ and advise their clients.