How firms are successfully adapting to the new normal with Karbon
By Stuart McLeod CEO & Co-Founder of Karbon
Even before the turmoil of the last 12 months, accountancy firms were unrecognizable compared to just a few years ago. Technology changed everything. Mostly, it's great.
There are now countless shiny new ways to grow, automate, report and work with clients. More apps and tools than you can keep up with.
Yet despite all this innovation, most are working more hours than ever, but seem to get less done. The focus is incorrectly on what and how much you are working, rather than how or why you are working.
At Karbon, we realised some time ago that for most accountancy firms, the key piece of the puzzle was missing:
How you actually run your practice.
Because for some reason, practice management tools never kept pace with all this other innovation.
This has left you with no other option but to make do with one tool for planning jobs, another to discuss things with clients, a third for team collaboration and communication, another for tasks—it goes on and on.
Information you need to do your job is scattered across so many different systems you lose count. Processes are inaccurate and lack any meaningful automation. And if you are a firm owner or manager, you have no visibility over client communication, who is working on what, or where anything is up to.
This was the reality for most firms before 2020. But then, how we work changed forever. What was a gradual shift towards distributed teams, suddenly accelerated by at least 10 years.
Entire businesses shifted to working from home overnight. And these challenges that so many practices were dealing with, quickly became something they could no longer work around. Not when there is no going back to normal.
Why remote work is here to stay
To grasp the full impact of COVID-19 on the accounting profession, we surveyed almost 1,000 accountants across 20 countries.
The Karbon survey found that despite being busier than ever, the majority of accountants feel more productive and 61% are happier working from home.
Few want to return to the office full-time when this is all over—just 18% wish to move back to the office permanently even when it is safe to do so.
The United Kingdom might be on the cusp of the biggest change of all. By mid-2020, 94% of surveyed UK accountancy firm staff were working remotely, and just 12% of those wish to return to the office permanently when it is suitable to do so—the lowest percentage of all major regions surveyed.
And most expect that this will become a reality. 77% in the UK expect to work from home more often in a post-COVID world.
No matter what way you look at it, remote work and more flexible working options are here to stay. Your staff not only want the option, they expect it.
The accountancy firms that enjoyed a smoother transition to remote work
Despite the chaos, many practices successfully adapted to this new normal. They were able to maintain business as usual in a time that is anything but, help more clients than ever in their time of need, and keep staff connected and happy.
There is one common link amongst many of these firms: those using Karbon are far more likely to have found the transition to working from home easier.
Managers using Karbon are 10% more likely to have confidence that their teams are remaining productive. Output delivered by Karbon teams is 6% more likely to have stayed the same or increased. And Karbon users are 17% more likely to be happier working at home.
Martin Bown’s Huddersfield practice, My Management Accountant, implemented Karbon last year. He said, “I have no doubt Karbon will fundamentally change the way we operate. It is absolutely integral to the ongoing success of My Management Accountant achieving its growth plans.”
Another survey found that the average individual using Karbon saves 13 hours each week, and productivity increases by 21%.
This is a key reason why Gary Bell of FLB Accountants says that “Karbon should be the starting point for any forward-thinking practice.”
How your firm can thrive in 2021 and beyond
It is clear that even in a post-vaccine world, things won’t return to the ‘way they were’. So every accountancy practice must ensure that they are prepared for the future and anything else that might be thrown at them.
Keeping a future-proof mindset will impact everything from how you hire, what clients you want, the services you provide, and of course, what technology you use that enables all of this.
This is why you must choose systems that can scale with your firm, and will enable your team to work remotely as well as under one roof.
Look for options that integrate with other tools in your tech stack. And avoid any outdated, ‘fake cloud’ solution that provides none of the benefits that cloud-native applications can.
‘Fake cloud’ solutions are essentially outdated systems that were originally built for desktop and have simply been moved to hardware in a remote location. They are unable to provide some of the most important benefits that cloud-native applications can, such as security, regular and seamless updates, and uninterrupted service. These are benefits that will be critical for any business in the new normal.
On the other hand, a cloud-native system like Karbon is built from the ground up for today’s needs. It can scale on demand and will ensure your team can handle all that the future brings.
Your accountancy firm will run much smoother and efficiently when the right tools are used. Staff will be happier, clients will receive a far better service, and your firm will quickly become more profitable. And there is no category that this applies more than practice management.
The digital workplace for the work-from-anywhere accountancy practice
Karbon is how you run your accounting firm. It brings all your planning, clients, work, and communication together, online. So even if your firm has to work remotely, you're all together online with Karbon.