Change Management – Two strategies for implementing change
In his blog our CEO shares personal insights from a career in accounting and tech
The key to successful implementation of new technology and the related change has never been about how great the technology was. Although implementing great technology is far easier…
The key has instead been change management. Big or small, changing anything necessitates a broader plan of how-to bring humans along that journey and affect that change.
From a very simplistic view, I often share with accounting firms there are generally 2 change strategies.
The first approach involves identifying a single change or smaller number of changes and implementing these consistently across the firms or department. When complete, you implement another change, building momentum. I will call this approach change expansion, as the aspect you are expanding over time are the changes.
The second approach involves identifying a larger number of changes and implementing these across a smaller number of client engagements, users or offices. When confident, you incrementally keep adding more engagements / users / offices. I will call this approach engagement expansion, as the aspect you are expanding over time is the engagements changed.
Either approach can be effective. But certain factors which are key to determining the right approach.
|Change Expansion||Engagement Expansion|
|Strategic Clarity||A strategy including change is understood by all in the firm||Strategy is more fluid to change opportunities|
|Decision Making||Quick & effective decision making exists||Decisions are typically made slower and by consensus|
|Innovation Resource||Dedicated innovation & change resource is available||Falls upon individuals with multiple responsibilities|
|Staff Mindset||Staff are open to, and embrace change||Staff cling to current processes and are resistant to change|
|Maturity of Change||Many comparable firms have made the same change||The change is unproven and still evolving|
|Nature of Work||Process orientated or compliance in nature||Involves more ideation and creativity|
|Seasonality||Highly seasonal – one peak cycle per year||Limited seasonality, work performed throughout the year|
We’ve seen first-hand firms making both these strategies work for them. And there are some interesting trends as to which approach is more common / effective in different markets.
These strategies can co-exist too. For example, we have seen a common approach developing with some of our customers. They quickly implement our foundational features, such as client collaboration, data ingestion and journal entry testing (in audit) on all engagements. Simultaneously they start using more advanced functionality on a small number of engagements to then expand the engagements using this at a late date.
It is possible to implement a large level of change across all engagements, users or offices in one implementation. That “big bang” approach is rarely used in accounting firms and suitable for only particular scenarios.
You could also take the approach of implementing a small level of change on a small number of engagements. But then you will have to work through engagement and change expansion simultaneously, which will be far slower.
The key is being deliberate with the approach you are taking and ensuring it fits your firm.
Inflo President & CEO