Employees, suppliers and customers are often spread across different buildings, cities, countries and even continents. All need secure access to workplace information anytime, anywhere. Accountancy firms are no exception.  

To succeed, today’s accounting professionals must be able to manage multiple client engagements, coordinate efforts across virtual teams and keep reams of confidential documentation organized, accessible and secure. But are accountancy firms making the most of collaboration tools to do this? We surveyed 400 accounting professionals to find out.

Interestingly, 70% of those we surveyed admitted to forgetting where they had saved a file within the last 12 months, 51% had wasted time editing a document only to discover it wasn’t the latest version and 40% revealed that they typically spent between 6 – 20 minutes each time they searched for the files they wanted.

That’s a lot of wasted time - impacting employee productivity and billable utilization.

Our survey also found that email can be a hindrance to productivity. Email is possibly one of the longest serving “collaboration” tools used in the business world today. However, with file sizes getting bigger it is a ‘problem child’ for accounting professionals. Of those we surveyed, 55% said that they could not share files because they were too large, while a further 39% had been delayed on a project waiting for email approvals.

People will always find the path of least resistance and such failings only increase the likelihood of employees printing unnecessary documents or sharing them on unencrypted thumb drives – which of course puts client sensitive data at risk.  

These findings make a clear case for a more sophisticated digital workplace approach to collaboration within accountancy and advisory firms. Moving to a secure cloud collaboration tool like Huddle can eliminate the challenges identified in our survey. It can make it easier for internal teams and clients to work together and collaborate effectively on projects, share and edit files, assign tasks and track activity in a secure, shared environment. No more searching for lost documents, editing the wrong document or having the headache of trying to send large files.

As projects become more complex and as documents become larger and more sensitive in nature, traditional ways of collaborating will become increasingly difficult. Cloud-based platforms increase productivity and engagement, ultimately impacting the bottom-line. With this in mind, isn’t it time accountancy firms moved to the new age of collaboration? 

Tim Deluca-Smith

CMO

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