Communicating the Value of Advanced Audit Software to Executives
You know what you need to keep your accounting department running smoothly — convincing your higher-ups that you need it is another skill entirely. As technologies change and software becomes more advanced, you’re sure to find auditing software that can transform the way you do business.
But many senior executives, especially those who have been in the business for decades, feel apprehension about incorporating new enterprise software. They may find switching out their old software daunting, or they may be worried about their bottom line. Convincing these leaders of the value of software and necessity of advanced accounting and audit tools can be an uphill challenge.
In this blog, we discuss the hang-ups that could be getting in the way of executive buy-in and how to make your higher-ups see the value in joining the digital revolution.
What can advanced accounting/audit software do?
Accounting software has come a long way in recent years, and these advances have revolutionized the accounting industry. Data analytics software like Caseware IDEA has proven to be a particular boon. Automated analytics streamline data analysis to prepare for audits, detect fraud, identify anomalies and more. The software provides an easy-to-track visual trail to keep your records clear and organized. And it’s easier than ever to import new information and even transfer over legacy data.
The software purchasing process, however, is often bound up in company bureaucracy. You first have to identify the need for the software and be able to justify it.
You can research different software options and suppliers. Before making a decision, though, you’ll need an audit analytics executive buy-in. Only once the executives agree to the software purchase can it proceed. During this time, you may need to find ways to overcome the hesitations executives might have about the new software.
Common points of resistance to executive buy-in and how to combat them
One of the most frustrating parts of the purchasing process is a resistance to change from higher-ups. Many of these executives have been in the business for decades and may be set in their ways. That doesn’t mean they can’t be taught new tricks, but it may take empathy and powerful persuasion skills to bring them around. Concentrating on the business value of information technology is key.
The greatest source of hesitation from executives is the daunting effort of implementing new systems and transferring all of their data from their old proven method to a strange new software. They may feel, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Instead of complaining too much about the current system, lay out all the advantages of the new system. Explain all the functions it has that the old system doesn’t have, and paint a picture of how that would improve your productivity.
They may also be worried about the sheer amount of time involved in implementation and training. It could even impact their bottom line. Time is money, after all, as accountants well know. If the team is consumed with learning how to implement the new software, that is time taken from serving stakeholders and contributing to the organization’s overall success. On the subject of the bottom line, executives may also worry about the cost of the software and whether its functionality can truly justify that cost.
This is a good time to bring up the ease of implementation for new accounting and audit software. If there is a way to import legacy files, make sure to highlight it. In your software value proposition, emphasize the ways that the new software will save time in the future. Advanced internal audit software cuts down on hours’ worth of time spent on data analysis, freeing up more time for other duties. If a new software takes a short amount of time to implement, let your higher-ups know about the cost- and time-effectiveness of the new software.
Part of the problem can also be making executives understand the need for the new accounting software on a day-to-day basis. Even if they once worked in the accounting department, by now, they deal with high-level, abstract decisions. All the details of your daily routine may escape their notice, thus making the need for advanced software seem extraneous to them.
To combat this, you’ll want to show data of your current workflow. Show them the lags and what those lags mean for the business as a whole. Make sure to speak to the company’s bottom line, rather than simply expressing the frustrations of your team. Then explain how the new software would provide a specific solution to each of the problems, thus boosting the bottom line.
Security may also be a concern, especially when it comes to automated and cloud software. There is often a misconception that cloud systems are not secure, and executives may worry about sensitive business information getting out. But most modern software is encrypted to protect sensitive information, making it even more secure than older accounting systems.
In addition to explaining the security measures with the advanced software, talk about the risk mitigation features of new software. For instance, with Caseware IDEA, the all-in-one analytics program examines risk and prioritizes areas with elevated risk in order to prevent silos of data. Not only will you be fortified against hackers, but you’ll become aware of any potential risk to your data as soon as it arises.
Modernize your office with Caseware IDEA
Caseware IDEA offers cutting-edge analytics for accounting and audit professionals. It offers seamless data import and powerful tests that allow auditors to be truly confident in their findings. It cuts down on the time taken by having to write new queries for each search, making it easier to glean new insights and identify patterns and trends. It effectively seeks out and mitigates risks found in your data analysis to prevent silos. And with automation, your workflow will be leaner and more effective, meaning a better bottom line to please executives.