5 Tips to Prepare your Accounting Team for a Technology Change
Any time you replace old technology with new technology, you can expect some buzz around the office. You just want to be sure it’s positive—that the chatter reflects the promise of “better results ahead” for everyone on the team.
Even if your employees are frustrated with the status quo—they’ve had enough of the manual accounting processes and cumbersome workarounds—and are excited about the changes that lay ahead, you still need to carefully manage the transition to ensure everyone is on board and ready to make the most of their new workflow and tools.
If you want your accounting system to rollout with ease, prepare yourself and your team for what’s ahead with these tips:
- Communicate the “Why’s” and the “What’s In It for Me’s?”
Adopting new technology requires workers to step out of their comfort zones and practice new skills (or at least new ways of working), learn new processes, and deliver on new requirements. To help reduce potential anxiety, focus your early communication efforts on making the changes desirable and relevant. Don’t jump into giving your team details on the new system and how it works; rather, ask them what’s not currently working and what they need their new solution to do.
Then, when talking to your team about their new system, tell them how the technology investment will help meet company goals, departmental goals, and individual goals. By all means, connect these to the benefits they’ll enjoy, such as more robust functionality, flexible anytime/anywhere access, timesaving automation, and even career enhancement.
- Use a “Champion” Change Agent
One of the best things you can do to create positive word-of-mouth around the accounting department is to enlist at least one person to act as a new solution spokesperson. It should be a person (and a peer) who has stake in the project and who wants it to succeed. They should be generally well liked and respected and have strong communications skills—they’ll help keep other employees focused on the positive improvements they’ll be seeing once their new system is up and running. And don’t forget that executives can help influence your workers’ accounting system rollout experience by from the top down. Anything the C-suite can say to promote technology innovation and support employees’ learning curve can help.
- Know Your Employees’ Comfort Levels With Technology
If you’re implementing a new accounting system to take your workers’ hands off of calculators and away from spreadsheets, it’s safe to say they’ve been working with legacy systems or software your company has outgrown. Either way, they’re about to start using up-to-date accounting tools—and they’ll probably be able to access them from various devices around-the-clock. Even if they’re tapping into web-based apps in their personal lives, a state-of-the-art finance and accounting solution might feature more bells and whistles than they’re expecting. Soon enough, they’ll see how user-friendly these bells and whistles are to use, but until then, ease them in. Since you can’t expect everyone on the team to jump in at the same speed, be sensitive to those who need a little more time to get comfortable.
- Educate Often and Enable Success
Introducing a new system—complete with new workflows and processes—is the perfect education opportunity. While your workers learn their new system, they’ll be learning new things about what it means to be an accounting professional today.
You’ll want to take advantage of the expert training and support programs (both live and on-demand) offered by your technology and software vendors. Now’s a great time to read the articles and blogs on their websites, and be sure to share any video trainings you find. And be sure to encourage your team to ask questions and explore new ways of solving problems using your new system.
- Keep Up the Momentum
Change is exciting—and your new accounting system is treating your employees to some welcome change. Why stop your cheerleading even though everyone has settled into the new routine? It’s likely you’re planning on implementing new solution modules or integrating other business systems, and these initiatives can take time and considerable effort. So it’s important to keep up the communication, inspiration, education, and feedback so every new change that comes along is received with open arms and open minds.