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.  

Mark Edmondson

Inflo President & CEO

Mark.edmondson@inflosoftware.com

The health and safety of our employees is of utmost importance to us. Based on government advice, we have decided to activate our Business Continuity Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that for a while, all of our employees will be performing their roles from home.

We’ve always taken Business Continuity very seriously and we regularly assess our measures as required by ISO27001. From the start, we designed Inflo to be flexible and agile – both as an employer to our people and as a partner to our customers. All of our employees use laptops, many usually work from remote locations, and our comprehensive security measures work just as well wherever our employees are located.

The servers that run our application and hold your data are managed by our trusted partner, Microsoft Azure. Our superusers operate this infrastructure remotely under normal circumstances, so we’re used to doing this and won’t need to operate any differently during this crisis.

In summary, while some of us here at Inflo are going to work slightly differently behind the scenes for a while, you can rely on Inflo to operate just as well as we always do.

– Mark Edmondson, CEO and President