The Liberating Guide to Adopting New Tech for Accountants
It’s easy to get excited about adding new tools to your firm’s tech stack. What isn’t always fun, though, is setting up the new tool, getting used to a new workflow, and communicating your expectations and needs to your team. Adopting new tools has challenges for everyone, even the most tech-savvy among us. Speaking as a tech company, we have our own challenges!
This is why we prioritize education, a safe space to ask questions, and support from real humans to help you get set up with our workflow software. But what about all of the other tech tools you need to run your firm? We want to share the most common challenges to adopting new technology and how you can prepare your team for onboarding a new tech and actually using it.
Common Challenges to Adopting New Technology
Some firm owners might feel too embarrassed to ask for help when learning a new system. But there are some real and common reasons for why individuals struggle with getting used to new tech tools. There are some common challenges and questions that come up for even the most tech-savvy people when they use a new automation tool.
Navigating Through the System
Do we know what to click on, how to scroll, which buttons not to click to make unexpected changes to the system? The user experience is often designed differently for different apps, so we can’t always assume we’ll know how to move through a system to get what we were looking for.
Learning the Boundaries of the Technology
Can we really do everything we’d hoped to do within the capabilities of the system?
Translating the Technology’s Specific Vocabulary
Not every app is full of tech jargon, but some terms are just slightly different from words we’re familiar with. It can take some time to adjust to the new language ourselves, let alone communicate them to our team.
Is an FAQ page enough to help you figure out how to use the system? Do you have to upgrade to another tier to get real time support from a human via chat, phone, or email?
These are all concerns that we take seriously at Jetpack Workflow and consider when creating any new product features. We know how difficult it can be to overcome these challenges, so we put a lot of effort into ensuring that your experience with Jetpack Workflow is as simple as possible.
Root of Change Management Issues
The technology-specific challenges can multiply in complexity depending on your familiarity with similar kinds of tech tools. But the foundational causes for challenges that firms have generally fall under at least one of three categories of change management issues:
- I don’t understand the change. New employees expect to have a learning curve to overcome, new technology included. But for those who have been part of the team for a while, a system or process change can feel different. Not every tool or work environment offers the education needed for the new system. Some individuals need time to explore the tool on their own in a safe, perhaps test, environment. Others need more formal training. Still others might need a combination of exploration, FAQ and manual-like documents, and hands-on assistance from experts.
- I don’t like the change. People have different risk tolerance, different thresholds for barriers to efficiency, and different relationships to their habits. Some of this dislike comes from fear of change in time, energy, or return on investment. Some industries are more prone to the “Shiny New Object” phenomenon, and jump too quickly from one solution to another without adequately learning and using the first new tool. This constant change can feel aimless and purposeless, which harms trust among end-users of any new system over time.
- I don’t like the change-bringer. This is an uncomfortable topic to discuss, but an all-too-common problem. Sometimes, we just don’t trust, like, or respect the person who’s leading the change. Without a well-established trust between you, your leaders, and your employees, change can feel like an uphill battle.
How to Actually Adopt New Technologies In Your Firm
You’re certainly not alone in challenges you’ve experienced with using new systems. In our experience, there is a success formula that works for our team and customers.
NOTE: For the solopreneurs out there, consider your internal dialogue and experiences when we mention “your team.” These solutions still apply to you!
Identify Your Needs
Carefully research new tech before investing time and/or financial resources into them. Ask your team a few questions before committing:
- Have we identified the specific problem in our current workflow?
- Does this tool have everything we need to solve the problem? If not, how much are we willing to compromise, and how much can we afford to invest in an incomplete tool?
- Take a bird’s eye view of your tech stack and ask, “What other tools will we need to adopt to make this new tool work?” If so, does your whole team agree to add additional tools and onboarding time?
Present Your Vision
After agreeing on the need for a new tool and gathering the best options available, the next challenge is helping your team to understand the benefits of the system. Develop a plan for how you envision the tool making your firm run better. Afterall, the ultimate goal is to have a more efficient accounting firm. Include the steps for onboarding, considering the tech-specific challenges mentioned above. Depending on the climate of your firm, you may need to prepare affirming responses for specific concerns top three change management concerns.
Train Your Team
Gather up your training resources, and set expectations for how your team will learn the new tool, migrate data if necessary, and integrate the system into their workflow. In addition to the initial onboarding, it’s just as important to consider how the tool can become part of each team member’s routine. At this point, you should already have been playing with the tool to find your own rhythm. You can share your routine with your firm, and keep communication open for brainstorming ways each person can customize their own routine with the new tech. Consider encouraging your team members to be champions of the new system. You may be the first champion, but having support from others will increase your chances of fully adopting the tool.
Celebrate Your Wins
It’s always a good idea to highlight successes in your firm. Little wins from adoption of new tech is no exception to this concept. Whenever someone on your team has gained back time or headspace as a result of the new tool, take the time to celebrate the victory with your whole team. It can be as simple as an email or instant message to the company, or a line item in a standing meeting. You can even get creative and reward employees who speak up about successes, seek help for difficulties, and champion the tool. Remember: You chose to invest in a tech tool because your vision was to improve time management, communication, organization, and ultimately save time and money for your firm.
No matter what challenges you’ve experienced with new technology, we hear you, and we have your back. It is possible to invest in a new tool that returns time and funds for your firm. Try Jetpack Workflow for free for 14 days, and discover how easy it is to onboard our new tech with the help of our resources and our success and support teams.