Skipping the pilot – Deploying technology at pace

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

Technology adoption in accounting is happening quicker than ever before. Firms are quickly digitising core aspects of their service delivery. 

So, how can firms expedite technology implementations? A key component is skipping pilots 

Performing pilots to evaluate a technology and its fit for your accounting firm is often viewed as the first step in any technology implementation. Pilots provide important information to leadership, aiding decision making. 

But what are the key benefits of pilots and how could you take a different approach to achieve the same insights? 

Key benefits of pilots 

  1. Ensuring the product delivers the sales proposition,
  2. Comparing against alternative solutions for the same issue, 
  3. Understanding how well staff will embrace the technology, 
  4. Planning the best implementation approach, including training and communication, 
  5. Evaluating process adjustments and integrations with other technologies. 

Alternative approaches 

  1. Test case: run a test case to prove the tech works. Can you quickly see the software working outside of demo-land? We recently launched a Proof of Fit offer, where firms provide a data set of a real client of theirs and we’ll prove the value of our solution to you. It takes just a couple of days.  
  2. Peer references: speak to relevant peers using the technology. What benefits did they gain? How would they implement differently if they did it again? We often ask customers to share their advice with peers including two webinars we ran recently, linked below. In an hour you can learn a great deal.  
  3. Vendor support: ask your software provider their recommended implementation approach and the support they can offer. In more time-pressured implementations we’ll often provide additional resource to complement the firm’s team, or plan and execute the entire implementation. 
  4. Consultants: seek a consultant’s opinion and potentially their support in implementing the software. Many consultants know software vendors well and know firms using those solutions to give you straight answers quickly 

Or decide without any of this information based on your gut feel of what it would be like to work with a vendor. 

It’s best when implementing quickly to avoid products which are early in their life cycle and still finding their feet. To implement quickly you need to know when the rubber hits the road that you’ll speed into the distance, not be trying to work out what direction to go. 

Don’t be too concerned about making the wrong software choice. The cost of transition from one application to another is far lower now than ever before, in particular for cloud applications. So, adjusting course later isn’t going to be nearly as hard as you might think. Almost everything you learn from one technology will have a relevance to your broader digitisation efforts. 

The worst decision is indecision… 

Good luck moving quickly! 

Check out highlights of our customer case studies webinar with leaders from a large, medium and small accounting firms here.  

Or watch our latest webinar – a remote auditing masterclass, with 3 customer firms here


Mark Edmondson