Digitization has become a crucial part of our (professional) everyday lives, yet entire industries are still skeptical as to whether digital transformation will bring them real added value. Yes, a digital transformation does offer considerable added value to SMEs and tax consultancies alike. It comes with a significant saving in time, costs and resources. Digital tools help us make our day to day work easier. But there are important factors that a firm should pay attention to, before and during, the implementation of digital tools. This article has 5 important tips on the way to becoming a digital firm.
1. Don't let digitization scare you off
A survey conducted in 2019 by the German Federal Chamber of Tax Advisors (BStBK) shows that many tax firms have concerns about the organizational burden on the firm and onboarding their staff when it comes to digitization initiatives. That's why it's important that the softwares are user-friendly, easy to understand, and intuitive. This ensures quick implementation and easy onboarding of employees and clients. This way, tax firms and companies can increase their competitiveness and be well prepared for the future. In which case, free trials are a good way to familiarize yourself with a tool and quickly see whether a tool only promises its added value or actually delivers it.
2. GDPR & GoBD compliance
Legal compliance of software solutions implemented in the company must be achieved. Since the day to day business of firms involves handling tax related documents, which makes GoBD conformity important when processing this data digitally. Firms should therefore always request a corresponding GoBD test certificate when selecting the right digital tool. Only in this way can tax consultants ensure that the data of their employees and, if applicable, clients is being handled with compliance according to principles of the GoBD.
3. Compatibility with commonly used softwares
Nowadays, more and more digital applications are being used by companies, so when it comes to a digital tool, you always have to make sure that the software is compatible with other softwares you already have. Integrations to common ERP systems such as DATEV or HR solutions such as Personio, serve as a bridge between client and tax advisors and are therefore recommended. In the end, no matter how great a digital tool is, it is of no use if it cannot be optimally embedded in the company's existing softwares or if massive adaptations are required first.
4. Make the purchasing decision carefully
Before you blindly decide in favor of a well-promoted tool, carefully consider what your firm really needs. Especially if the firm is still in the early stages of digitization, it is advisable to analyze where investments are really worth it - targeted small steps often bring more value than unspecific 'digital strategies'. Ask yourself what you need from a digitized process and seek advice about this if necessary. For example, a tool that is too complex and replaces a manual process is not automatically helpful. If the implementation already takes extremely long, you will save yourself no time and therefore no money. In order to test an app or a software thoroughly before buying it, many companies provide free trial version. Test a product thoroughly and find out whether it offers you any added value. A digital tool should ultimately have the purpose of optimizing, simplifying and thus accelerating processes, according to your firm's needs and expectations.
5. Involve your employees
Another important step is involving your employees in the digital transformation process. By openly communicating changes within the company, you create trust. Employees might have valuable insights when it comes to identifying processes that are ineffective and outdated. If you want to make your firm more digital, reach out to your employees and find out where there is room for improvement and where digital tools can be helpful. Ultimately, it is the employees who would have to work with these apps and softwares in the future. It is important to openly involve employees when changing processes from the very beginning, instead of throwing them in at the very end. Additionally, the accounting department must be remembered, in which digital process optimization can not only save many hours, but also a lot of money.