How early adopters of data analytics are now winning, and what is left for new adopters?

In his blog our CEO shares personal insights from a career in accounting and tech

Being an early adopter means by its very nature that you are treading a new path. One that few have walked down before you. 

It represents risk. But on the flip side, above-average reward. 

To put a number on it, Roger’s Diffusion of Innovations states only 16% of people or organisations adopt innovations prior to the early majority phase. 

There are many traits which early adopters have in common. In my view, one is the way they balance risk and reward, placing strategic bets which pay off in either return or enhanced learning. 

But as the use of data analytics in audit and accounting moves beyond the early adopter phase, what wins are early adopters achieving and what is left for those at the earlier stages of this innovation? 

Wins of early adopters 

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with 3 of our UK early adopter firms in an ICAEW hosted webinar. It was an interesting discussion with 3 very different firms, who had different original motivations and very different approaches. 

I was joined by Rachel Davis, Managing Partner of a small firm called Just Audit. Paul Winwood, Head of Audit for a regional firm BHP Chartered Accountants (part of Kreston International). And Andrew Moyser, Partner at MHA MacIntyre Hudson (part of Baker Tilly International). 


Here are some of the quick takeaways in terms of what they have achieved as early adopters: 

  • Winning new clients, which are larger and more profitable, by providing a stronger technology proposition to targets than larger rival firms 
  • Accessing new opportunities from clients seeking advisers using new technologies they have adopted 
  • Identifying new services to provide to existing clients after quickly mastering the basics  
  • Working closely with technology providers as partners, better understanding the origins of the product and influencing key functionality to fit their needs 
  • Winning awards which distinguish the firm in the eyes of targets and potential new hires 

Some real highlights of the session included Rachel receiving unsolicited feedback from a client of their preference for her collaboration technology versus that of the Big 4 firm. Paul recruiting 120% more graduates in 2019 than in 2018 due to the volume of new work won. And Andrew winning a FTSE 350 listed client, the largest client the firm has ever had. 

Still available to new adopters 

Based on all the above, is it too late now for new adopters to make the same gains? Not necessarily. While the window of opportunity might be reducing, there are still significant gains available to firms looking to adopt data analytics within their audit and accounting services.  

You can still win new clients. Still deliver more value to your existing clients.  

But to access these gains, firms must move quicker. Implementations must be faster, relying on proven approaches to implement change. Good technology providers know how to drive change quickly and provide the support to make it happen. 

The early adopters are winning the race and it’s positive to see the risk taken has turned to reward. Those who are only just warming up, or remain static in the start blocks, must recognise the lack of risk means they should now make smart, informed decisions and move quickly through the gears.  

To watch highlights of the webinar with Rachel, Paul and Andrew check out our blog post here

Mark Edmondson

Inflo President & CEO