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The Impact of Technology on Professional Services & How to Prioritize Going Digital

Practice Management, Legal Technology, Accounting, Tips & Tricks

Even before 2020, forward-thinking organizations were realizing the benefits of integrating their businesses processes with advanced digital technology. However, the coronavirus pandemic escalated the need for professional services firms to evaluate what a “digital transformation” might mean for them. 

But, many firms aren’t there yet. Most are trying to stay operational while remaining profitable, unable to fully realize how much of an impact the right technology could have on their bottom line. 

How is digital transformation tangibly applied at the operational level? Where do you start? 

We’ll get there, but it’s important to remember, not everything has to be done at once. With the right technology partner(s), you can get data-driven guidance on how to make incremental, impactful technology changes, whose ROI can be measured.

Integrating digital technology into your organization

Innovative new technologies help your company anticipate change, react to that change faster than your competitors, and adapt strategies for future industry disruptions.

To successfully leverage digital technology, plan your digital strategy, and understand how to measure its impact; you need to ask the right questions:

  • What are your company’s KPIs?

According to a Workday Survey, 48% percent of professional services firms agree that their own KPIs are not reflective of the digital era in which we are now operating”

  • Where are your biggest bottlenecks?
  • What do you need your staff to be doing more of? Less of?
  • What are the most time-intensive, manual tasks performed by employees?
  • Can you outline all of your organizations core processes — where are the weak points?
  • What are your resource constraints? (financial, human capital)
  • Could digitalization help your firm to expand its line of services?

For legal and accounting firms in particular, going digital is something that can’t wait. Check out our free white-paper Future in Focus: The Road To Digital Transformation For Legal & Accounting Firms for four ways digital cloud tools can deliver higher protection and profit for your business.

If you’re already remote,

  • How easily can your employees communicate and collaborate with each other?
  • How accessible is pertinent information to remote employees? Is everything they need digitized and organized?
  • How secure is the information being shared? Are you compliant with all local and federal requirements?

The following examples, illustrate how the answers to the above questions can be utilized to figure out where technology improvements can have the most impact.

  • The pandemic closed down businesses across the world, including the judicial system. Courtrooms and attorneys had to quickly determine how to use legal technology to continue their litigating. This meant finding ways to securely manage and send documents, and adapt to meeting and representing clients virtually.
  • Using a digital platform to uncover insights, new technologies can help professional service firms with pitching and landing new clients, closing transactions, finding new markets, uncovering inefficiencies, and better-serving customers.
  • Digital technology enables organizations to slash administrative costs and regain precious time, which can be diverted to offering additional services and more competitive pricing.

Prioritizing your firm’s digital transformation

Taking the answers to the questions above, it’s time to think about the types of technology platforms that offer the capabilities you need. It’s going to matter who you partner with and how you prioritize your digital transformation to see the most return on your investment, maintain a competitive edge over others in your sector, and use your new technology to provide the best of the best for your clients/customers. 

Time and money management

Not only does manual input of things like time tracking and expense reporting lead to manual errors — but not having a digital record makes it hard for professional service providers to gain a full closed-loop understanding of the business. You need a single source of truth. 

Continuing to rely on manual time and billing can lead to an increase in inaccurate and unbilled hours, unpaid invoices, and unintended revenue loss. Even better if you offer automated integrated payment processing, to make it easy for clients to stay up-to-date on payments. 

Check out our free white-paper, The Rise of Electronic Payment Processing in Service Firms for an outline of the key requirements you should look for in an automated payment solution, and the story of one firm’s path to smarter cash flow.

People management

How long does it take a client to be onboarded? How long does an average client stay? How much of your resources is being dedicated to each client and what’s their profitability? How many clients does each employee have? How satisfied are your customers?

It’s near impossible to make projections, understand when to hire, improve turnover, and stay organized without help. Digitally integrating all your processes will help you keep a pulse on how fast you’re growing and can help you make more proactive decisions. 

If your a professional services firm, it’s time to go digital

Those who started or were well into digitizing their firms prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic are more successful than those who were not, simply because they were able to quickly adapt to the so-called “new normal” and still service clients while the rest of the country shut down.

If you’re part of a professional services firm that has been considering updating your technology, it’s never too late. We can help you pinpoint and digitize the processes that will have the most impact on your bottom line.

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