There is an important area of technology where the accountancy firms are not always leading the field, according to the CEO and founder of proposal generation business Enable Business Solutions Liam Flanagan. Enable works with business development and marketing teams in professional services firms to provide them with the tools to simply create compelling pitch material and Flanagan believes this is an area that has often been largely ignored by CIOs and IT Directors, because the sponsorship typically comes from CMOs.
“These business development, design and marketing teams are primarily Apple-based, as are the website developers they work with,” he explains. “On the other side of the fence, with the transactional work, it all tends to be Microsoft. Five to ten years ago, the IT Director might have handed out more Apple PCs or bought more Indesign licences to go around to make that part of the job easier without making meaningful change. It just wasn’t high enough on their list of priorities and often something not really understood.”
In the legal industry this is starting to change, according to Flanagan. There is a growing respect for the need for seamlessly integrated technology around content to support integrated business development and marketing functions. “But accountancy firms from my experience of talking to them are definitely not ahead of the legal industry when it comes to this,” he says.
Apart from major pitches to new contacts, audit rotation rules are only increasing the importance of exceptional pitching for this mainstay of the accountancy firms’ service offering and yet many are not investing as much time or resource into this area of their business as they are with business applications, finance and HR systems or CRM, for example. “This leaves the field open for other innovative firms to come in with fresh technology, creating brilliant pitches and steal the client away.”
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