App fatigue hampers best of breed evolutionby
It's not easy being an accountant in 2021, especially when you consider all the technology choices you have to make at such a fast pace.
With approximately 500 apps in the QuickBooks Online app marketplace and over 1000 apps on the Xero marketplace, accounting tech is starting to pose more problems than solutions for many accountants. Moreover, a lot of practitioners are poorly equipped to handle this new element of their job and simply get overwhelmed. The result is often poor technology choices with little to no thought on a true tech stack.
For many, it seems once you have made your tech picks, you're expected to have a degree in IT to make the apps work together seamlessly. Getting caught up in the mechanics of app integration is an inevitable side-effect of seeking out the best solutions for any situation and then trying to tie them back into internal processes and the underlying core accounting engine.
But is best-of-breed still the most effective way to approach cloud solutions? We asked a group of industry innovators and early adopters for their thoughts on the dilemmas involved in building a best in class tech stack. We hope their advice will help prepare you for your continuing app quest.
Large firms: Compromise is a must
"My view is that best in practice is coming back,” says John Toon from Beever and Struthers. “We're seeing a resurgence as more and more technology moves to the cloud and APIs become much more accessible. Over the past 18 months, people have been building practices around things like Teams, Slack and Zoom, which maybe wasn't necessarily at the forefront of their minds prior to that.
“The challenge for many practices is to pick up best-of-breed and then connect it. There are compromises you have to make along the way and it takes time. The bigger the practice, the more time it takes.”
Toon still looks to vendors to get these integrations right. But where APIs don’t exist , he believes it's time to bring developers in house to build those deeper integrations. “That's an exciting capability to bring in-house, bringing software expertise that we would never typically have had."
Small firm: Best of breed all the way
For Dave Sellick and his pioneering approach at Sidgrove, best-of-breed is still the way to go. "Within my space, there is probably a disproportionate focus on the best tools right now for everything that we do, and the founders would often drive that. There is credibility that comes from me as an accountant in implementing the best technology that exists.”
Sellick works with a lot of younger clients, who rely heavily on tech and expect their accounting experience to accommodate that. That is part of the reason that Sellick is always looking to refresh and update his tech stack.
"We don't just create systems now and then leave them in place for a year. We create systems and if a better technology comes along, it might be so transformational that you want to implement it right now. So you're constantly evolving your best of breed system.” he says
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