Top 5 change management tips for successful time accounting software adoption

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Modern timekeeping tools help accounting firms address critical needs, including accurately capturing work efforts, preventing leakage, and providing key insights so firm professionals and partners can make better informed decisions. Why, then, are so many firms still behind in their time accounting software adoption? Often, the answer lies in a failure to develop or execute a sound change management process.

Promoting successful change management is a challenge that firms across all industries struggle with.  Often, staff members are skeptical about whether a new technology will truly improve their workflow, and are hesitant to invest significant time, effort, and resources into the product.

Other professionals are slow to give up their old tools and processes simply because those systems are what they’re familiar with. Even if their old software is inefficient and requires manual effort, many professionals would rather continue using it than interrupt their workflows to try to learn a completely new, potentially more difficult system.

As long as accountants have access to their old technology, they will likely continue to cling to their old habits instead of using their firm’s new system. But IT teams can’t disable the old system until the firm has successfully adopted the new product; otherwise, workflows will break down, teams and stakeholders will complain, and productivity will suffer. Many firms are therefore caught in a catch-22.

Good news: There are proven change management plan steps you can take to get unstuck.

  1. Reflect upon existing technology

First, clarify for your accountants which key business needs aren’t currently being met by their existing technology and processes. Although your accountants may understand that their old systems and processes are slow, they may not fully grasp just how much those systems are hurting the firm in terms of realization or compliance.

For example, you may be prohibited to bill a certain client for travel time, and must code that time another way. If your timekeeping solution doesn’t enforce or remind you of this billing term, you may accidentally submit a bill with your travel time listed. When accountants submit time that isn’t compliant with a client’s billing terms, it will lead to corrections or write-offs down the road and potentially hurt the firm’s client relationship. Share these concerns with your accountants to build a sense of urgency, then explain how the new product will solve those issues.

Intapp Time ensures compliance to billing terms at the point of time entry, reducing bill rejections, accelerating invoicing, and improving realization rates. The software also leverages AI-based capture technology to help accountants accurately track their hours to reduce lost time and revenue leakage — problems that firms constantly face when using basic, manual timekeeping solutions.

  1. Consider user preferences

You’ll also want to invest in a product that will make your change management process as easy as possible for your accountants. Intapp Time, for example, is highly configurable, offering different timekeeping methods based on user preference. Those who prefer to use timers can take advantage of the software’s active time capture, while those who wish to automate the process can passively capture time. By investing in a product that lets professionals work in the ways that best suit them, your teams will be more receptive to the idea of adoption.

  1. Develop a rollout strategy

Of course, there will still be some professionals who remain skeptical and hesitant to adopt the new product — so rather than promoting a firmwide rollout right away, you’ll likely find more success rolling out your new time accounting software in phases. Following the technology adoption curve theory, your first group should consist of innovators and early adopters — the professionals who are most excited to learn about the new product. After learning how to use time accounting software, these professionals can help build excitement around and advocate for the tool.

Once others in your firm feel reassured that the timekeeping product works well for the first set of users, they’ll be more likely to want to adopt the technology themselves. The first group will also become ambassadors and can also help answer any questions or concerns your professionals may have along the way. As more and more accountants get onboard with your new timekeeping product, your IT department can phase out the old, inefficient system to ensure your firm isn’t tempted to fall back.

  1. Share the vision

Investing in the right time accounting software won’t just speed up the timekeeping process; it will also help your firm reach larger, long-term goals. For example, firms can leverage metrics around clients, processes, and resources to determine which clients are the most profitable and which processes and activities drive the best outcomes. Firms can then develop better client intake and marketing strategies and establish more profitable rates that accurately reflect the amount of work being done.

Get your professionals excited about your long-term goals so that they’ll be more motivated to adopt your new time accounting solution. Involve your stakeholders in roadmap sessions and emphasize the ways your solution will help the firm achieve its strategic goals.

  1. Create a feedback loop

It’s important that your firm creates a supportive environment that promotes and celebrates your time accounting software adoption process. Create an open line of communications for both how the tools have helped your professionals and document constructive feedback. Continually remind your accountants of the benefits the new solution is providing, while making the transition process as easy as possible for them.

Schedule a demo to learn how Intapp Time can help your firm ensure a smooth time accounting software adoption process.

Written by:

Linda Long

Practice Group Leader, Accounting and Consulting

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