Accounting Influencers Roundtable


Powering Productivity: Tech Advancements for Accountants

How are software vendors serving accountants? Insights from experts Adam Rakich, Adrienne Lester, Alice Grey Harrison, Amanda C. Watts & Amy Holdsworth

The Accounting Answers Podcast, hosted by Rob Brown, asks critical questions of the experts, leaders and influencers who shape the decision-making of accountants, CPAs and finance professionals. Today we ask:

What could the tech/software vendors do better to serve accountants?

You’ll hear insightful and passionate answers from these 5 experts and influencers:

Adam Rakich | Accounting technology enthusiast and Director of Strategic Alliances at DataBlend

Adrienne Lester | Senior Sales Director at Citrix, Sharefile and RightSignature

Alice Grey Harrison | Communications expert: Guiding firms through change, fostering alignment and success

Amanda C. Watts | Business Advisor Academy founder helping accountants escape the compliance cage

Amy Holdsworth | Clarity Street CEO, guiding the industry in connected software

Tune into more on this daily show for short, sharp episodes that keep you informed of what’s happening in the accounting world and the whole ecosystem of consultants, organizations, vendors and advisors who serve them.

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Rob Brown:

The future of accountant, isn't just about numbers and financial statements. It's about empowering businesses to make informed decisions, navigate complex challenges, achieve their financial goals. And everyone recognized that Kansans are at the heart of this and must become trusted partners with business acumen expertise in data analytics, storytelling, strategic guidance, taking the clients towards success and whatever your role is in this ecosystem, you need to stay ahead of the curve to stay relevant. And that's why this accounting answers podcast was conceived to keep you informed and competitive. I'm your host, Rob brown, and I've interviewed 111 accounting experts, leaders, advisors, vendors, and influencers in the last few months and collected for you the very best and latest thinking on what works and what is coming up. And this week, they show 10 to 15 minutes gets you the low down on what matters today in the rapidly evolving accounting landscape. And the professional is shed in its traditional image of number crunching, embracing a bold new future data technology, strategic guidance, reign Supreme. I've asked the same five questions throughout covering the next generation of accountants. The proactive advice they need to be given the drivers have changed the role of tech and software vendors post the best predictions for the next few years, let's get started and hear what our experts have to say. In this episode, we're continuing to ask our accounting influencers and leaders about the rule of tech providers and software vendors in driving the industry forward. Techie spearhead in transformation and innovation in the traditional accounting role, but how could the sellers of this tech better serve the needs of accountants on what exactly are those needs? Let's find out all the missing pieces of the accounting vendor jigsaw, as we ask our experts. Now he was out of wreckage and accounting technology, enthusiast, and director of strategic alliances at data blend passionate about connecting businesses with the right technological solutions to streamline their accounting processes.

Adam Rakich:

Well, I think there's two big areas that tech vendors could be doing a much better job in, and they're both kind of flavors around educating, accountants. And one is broadly teaching accountants how to buy software. And to be fair, this is not a new problem, right? This has existed as long as software has, right? No matter how long you're an accountant. You're going to buy a tiny amount of software compared to how much a vendor sells. The vendors know the process, they know the questions that buyers ask, but probably most importantly, they know the questions the buyers should be asking. You know, and the vendor is as such in the best position to help an accountant buy software, but often they don't really think about that. They're, they're focused on, you know, selling the one deal. And I think that's backward. Accountants have long memories and they certainly talk, right? You are best served being honest, transparent and having that willingness to educate even, you know, if it's a short term experience for yourself, the second part, arguably part of the first, but I think it bears mentioning. It's about demystifying technology. My experience is that accountants, they want to know what's going on throughout any solution they take on. They want to be able to get their arms around things, and throwing about acronyms is not a way to do that. So often they rather stick with business as usual, even though it's a pain, because they'd rather do that than get into something they don't fully understand. And that's where You have a big reason why there's not more uptake, I think, of many valuable solutions for accounting, you know. Vendors shouldn't be fancy. They should boil it down, make it simple, accessible. Everyone's going to win.

Rob Brown:

Let's get the thoughts of Adrian Lester senior sales director at citric share file and write signature where she drives sales strategies and partnerships to empower businesses with secure document sharing and the e-signature solutions.

Adrienne Lester:

So two points again, the first being to really help them improve their client experience. So talked a lot about how do you set yourself apart from how competitive the landscape is today to have a really bespoke client experience is incredibly important. so. I think that there are tons of vendors out there that can improve this to make it a lot easier for them to interact with you to be custom branded, having your logo out there. And the other is to prioritize building solutions that break down the biggest pain points that individuals see within the profession. so that would be offloading these tedious tasks that I continue to mention and allow the CPA to again, focus more on the individual and the person versus the task at hand. as I look at the landscape of vendors that exist in those that operate and in kind of those, very archaic interfaces that don't really think about the client, we do see that those are being, those are falling behind and the conversations that I have, accountants are really reviewing the ease of use of the tool that they're going for, not only for their internal employees, but also their clientele. Uh, can I imagine, Carl, the individual that I've done tax and accounting work for the last 40 years, being able to use this or not, is he going to understand how to log in and be able to interact with this? It's very important. And, and those that are not adapting their software's software or hardware to that are really going to be left behind.


The next voice is Alice Gray Harrison, a communications expert who specializes in God in accounting firms through change, fostering alignment and insurance success. To effective communication strategies and employee engagement.

Alice Grey Harrison:

I think that they can help them think about the future and where technology is headed and help them build their methodologies to reflect what is going to come in the future with technology.


Coming up now as a man to see what's founded the business advisor academy dedicated to helping accountants escape the compliance cage on good that practices through advisory services.

Amanda Watts:

I would love to see tech and software vendors be kinder to accountants. The people who create software are wired in a different way from accountants. You think it's going to be easy for accountants because they're really good at numbers, but actually when you sit an accountant in front of technology, from my experience and the number of people I've worked with, they go, I hate tech. So I think that account, tech suppliers need to take a step back and learn to articulate how to use software in a way that is consumer friendly. We're not all geeks and we need geeks in the world to make a difference, but we're not all geeks and we need it explained in layman's terms. And we have this natural assumption that accountants are going to understand because they're numbers minded. But actually it's still a little bit rewiring. So I think that for these vendors to really help the profession and move the profession forward, they need more care and customer support, and also enable the clients to that their clients to adopt it in a way with a bit of patience. Like it's so easy to get people to buy software, but to get people to use software is really difficult. So you've got to make it so it's user friendly and I don't think it is at the moment.


The next voice you hear will be Amy Holsworth CEO of clarity street got in the industry and connected software and open accounting firms, leverage technology for efficiency and growth.

Amy Holdsworth:

Stop lying to them. Every product makes the account believe that their solution will solve all of their problems or the problem they solve is the most, is, is the one that's most affecting them and it reduces clarity of focus. Of what's actually important. So as an example, um, is scanning your receipts to help with your bookkeeping, um, the be all and end all, that's going to solve all of your problems or is the bigger problem that you're facing. The way that you communicate with your clients, the way that you execute on the work that you actually need to produce on the advisory piece that you need to produce for your clients on the server that you probably need to replace and upgrade to cloud based technology. I think that, I think there's also over promising and under delivering under delivering on elements of tech that's developed as well. So I think there needs to be a lot more. Transparency around what the apps are doing and also potentially stop creating features with apps. If another app actually does it just because you don't like the way that that app does that feature, because it's just making it really confusing for the industry as well. Like there's so much crossover of features these days that accountants are sitting there going, well, why am I using that practice management piece over that one or that document management over that one? Like it's just, it's really challenging. So, um, yeah, that'd be my two takeaways actually.

Rob Brown:

So they have five grand answer to the question. What could the tech and software vendors do better to serve accountants each work in depth that week, Monday through Friday, we give you the insights of five top influencers in the accounting world. On this critical area of the tech providers, software vendors and how they serve accountants. That's 25 valuable perspectives, viewpoints and best thinking every week. And with each fresh week comes a fresh question and more thoughts from the best accounting leaders and influences we can find. Thanks for listening to this brand new accounting answers podcast. And sharing the show with your friends. If you want to join the conversation, you can plug into our community of and check out our virtual speed networking events. These happen every few months for the north American region and the UK Europe region. The great opportunities to raise your profile, build valuable connections and share your thoughts with influential peers until next time, this is your host. Rob brown, saying stay informed, stay relevant and stay connected.