Firm Issues List of the Best Tech for Accountants
K2 Enterprises has announced its 2014 technology awards in 27 categories. The only clear message may have been that there was no clear message in a field marked by many good ideas, but no unanimous winners.
The company, which provides continuing education for accounting and financial professionals, as well as marketing consulting services to technology providers for accounting, has presented the awards for 13 years. K2 instructors serve as award judges.
"There were votes for many solutions", said K2 Enterprises chief executive officer Val Steed in a prepared statement. "We did have some repeat winners this year but no unanimous winners."
A goal of the awards is to draw attention to technology providers trying to make a difference, and especially those that are focused on their customers, Steed told AccountingWEB.
The fact that there were no unanimous winners this year could herald more than just change within a particular product line or company. Instead, it may very well be a sign that change is a constant in the entire field, Steed told AWEB.
"Change is what is there", he says. "We see new innovations every day."
Steed notes that companies focused on the end user continue to get market share and have longevity while those "caught in their own ivory tower world" forget what's really important.
Take, for example, cloud solutions. Everyone thought—a some still do—that cloud accounting would take over. But that's user concerns about security and other issues remain. The solutions that move forward will offer users and customers a choice between on-premise use and the cloud, and they'll stay end-user oriented, Steed says.
"The clever thing to say is that everything will change eventually, based on who has the better strategy that they can actually implement and gain market share", he says. "To win in this market, you have to stay engaged five to seven years."
And don't discount the power of the little guys. Small companies with good solutions, that see a hole in the market, and choose to compete and play hard, can win market share, Steed adds.
"The key thing is that the small or mid-size firm doesn't need a monstrous staff and resources because technology can take the place of what use to be only available resources in huge firms", he says. "Technology is the leveler for those who are willing to learn it, deploy it, manage it and invest in it."
So how to keep up? Training is essential and, yes, K2 Enterprises offers continuing education. But company instructors also see the mistake of firms that don't take the time to train their employees.
"And the last step that few follow up on is holding that technology investment accountable", Steed says. "You review it and ask if you got the value for it. Was it actually bad technology or is it not training the people?"
Terry Sheridan is an award-winning journalist who has covered real estate, mortgage finance, health care, insurance, personal finance, and accounting and taxation issues for newspapers, magazines, and websites. A Chicago native and former South Florida resident, she now lives in New England.