Change management is more than what you do. It’s how you do it, and how it is perceived, experienced and measured. Avii calls this Accounting Experience Management™.
By Lyle Ball, CEO and Cofounder of Avii
Accounting professionals are the very embodiment of the ironic observation that the only absolutes in life are death and taxes. Now, we are more aware than ever that change is the third absolute. Consider the level of changes to accounting in the last several years: cryptocurrency, new laws and technology, deadline shifts, technology downtime, clients’ expectations, PPC, ERC and the forced changes resulting from COVID. These and other changes amount to cataclysmic disruption for individuals and firms that are not embracing and successfully executing change management that results in data-verified optimizations.
Change Management is a given. Embrace it or fall behind.
The sooner we get consensus and support for change management in the most critical parts of our practice, the more effective, profitable and happy we will be.
How we get there is also critical. Experience management is anchored to validating the experience of others. In high-touch, high-value relationships like those in accounting may start with anecdotal validation but must evolve to data-driven validation in today’s rapidly advancing digital frontier.
Technology is the source of actionable data. But the major accounting software vendors differ in their approach to empowering firms with access to the optimal data that drive change management and uplifts the experiences of the most critical stakeholders. These stakeholder groups include clients, accounting practitioners, and those optimizing the firm’s processes, workflows, technology and profitability.
The winners are firms that analyze and design the best pathway forward and then expand and improve the quality of data from each software system they use. (At some accounting firms, this tops 70 disparate software systems.) Key to leveraging this disconnected data is the extent to which firms then interconnect the highest quality and required quantity of data into a unified data source. This new high bar of unified data is then leveraged for live workflow automation, dashboards, and actionable data analysis to drive improvements to policies, approaches and resulting experiences.
Avii coined the phrase “SaaS Hub” in 2019. It sets an example of how SaaS vendors can both provide stand-alone software solutions and also tie in data from other best-of-breed software solutions using quality APIs. Ultimately, unified data empowers firms with deeper access and leverage of the data resulting from everyday usage by their clients, team members and managers.
Entwining Change Management and Software Evolution with the new Paradigm: Accounting Experience Management™
Imagine the possibilities when in our work process we make the experience of the work and the results as big or even bigger an objective than the output specifications we achieve.
The principle of Experience Management applies to your customers’ experience. It applies to your practitioners’ experience. Likewise, it applies to your own experience, your vendors, your leaders and stakeholders – the theme is universal, and the concepts, throughout, are very much the same. Doing this will lift your success, your satisfaction and your customers’ satisfaction into an entirely new realm. It will lift your efficiency and your profits as well.
In the IT industry, for example, some experts have voiced this priority through a theme of “converting your SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) into “XLA’s” (Experience Level Agreements). In accounting, our output will always be measured by the hard numbers of revenue documented and reported, deadlines achieved, and compliance accomplished. But suppose we meshed these achievements with metrics derived from “obsessive listening and observation” of our clients and staff. What are they experiencing, start to finish, with our policies, approaches, workflows, outputs and communication? How are change management and technology evolution aiding us to evolve from accounting historians to trusted advisors driven by live data and automated workflows? Is the increased satisfaction and gratification experienced by both the giver and receiver in all of our exchanges?
We should add these “XLA’s” as companion KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) that we value as strongly as we value the numeric outputs and financial market growth we achieve. The results will be enlightening. Perhaps they will even astonish.
The experience management paradigm is sure to impact the field of accounting in ways in which we will never turn back.
Avii is taking strong steps to herald the melding of metrics and experience within the new paradigm of Accounting Experience Management™. We invite you to join us as we share more about this thinking in the upcoming July 22 Webinar, “Rising to New Accounting Heights with Experience Management. We look forward to seeing you there.
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