Five areas professional services firms should target for digital innovation

15 September 2020 2 min. read
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Many professional services firms help their clients upgrade digitally. But accounting, consulting, law, and engineering firms can likewise benefit from leveraging technology in their own businesses. According to an article from Rhys Morgan, a partner at RSM Canada, professional services firms should focus tech investments to upgrade customer engagement, business operations, employee enablement, security, and analytics and reporting.

Customer engagement

As clients change the way they interact with businesses, professional services firms need to adapt to these changes. For example, some clients may use innovative technology to streamline or automate certain audit activities. Morgan also notes that clients are demanding greater transparency and efficiency, while also improving their own customer experience through digital platforms.

Top consulting firms are expected to use technology with a focus on customer value – automating and streamlining manual processes so they can respond to growing customer expectations for greater speed, accuracy, and information.

Five areas professional services firms should target for digital innovation

Business operations

As professional services continue to use a remote workforce, firms should look to minimize administrative burdens and streamline business processes to better enable remote work. Tools such as professional services automation (PSA) systems can help better manage project assignments and improve project tracking, Morgan says.

Professional services firms can likewise use AI tech for document review and legal research, or robotic process automation (RPA) to make contract review and due diligence more efficient. Business intelligence tools, meanwhile, can help firms make more data-informed decisions.

Employee enablement

Top firms are using technology to provide training and skills-based learning to upskill employees in critical thinking, data analytics, and AI, among other areas. Additionally, remote workforces need the right technical resources to maximize productivity, engagement, and collaboration.

Secure and stable technology

As companies become more technologically reliant – with remote work operations, cloud systems, and automated processes – they open themselves to more cyber risk. Companies should be vigilant in reviewing their IT security and testing for gaps, according to Morgan. Firms using cloud or SaaS applications, for example, should ensure they create a secure network with VPN, dual authentication, and encryption.

Data analytics and reporting

Possessing advanced reporting, analytics, and information delivery capabilities can give a company greater opportunities to realize hidden opportunities, make smarter decisions, and outmaneuver competitors. Morgan recommends that professional services firms take a broader view of their data platforms – finding ways to aggregate and consolidate data sources, identify business issues, and leverage real-time key performance indicators (KPIs) and analytical reporting.