As an accounting firm, we are surprisingly often in the midst of great change. And the biggest changes we go through with our clients are conversions. This is where we take a business on a legacy system and convert their accounting software, systems, and processes to cloud-based software.
Also, in the dynamic world of real-time online cloud-based accounting, the work-flow can often seem like a fire hose turned full-on. Systems drive the effectiveness of the processes, and people living inside that environment have to be problem solvers with the ability to respond to problems as they arise in the moment.
Traditional accounting was more discrete. It would come in predictable chunks and bookkeepers were more data entry clerks, and did not need to solve systems problems, or respond to daily issues. They could work in isolation from everyone else in the business.
Why is cloud-based accounting so dynamic?
Here is an example – imagine you have orders flowing into your business through an online portal like Woo Commerce or Shopify. Orders are synced to your warehouses and are pulling out your inventory and costing it in real-time. Invoices are emailed as orders pour in.
Meanwhile the cloud-based accounting software is pulling transactions from bank and credit card feeds every day.
It is more like a flow of transactions pouring through your systems.
The new bookkeeper must be a systems-driven, problem solving person as a result. They now have to make sure transactions are getting coded correctly. That the system is working as designed (there are tweaks and workarounds required in any system).
Traditional accountants do the work more on their schedule (think public accountants doing your year-end, behind the scenes, and dealing with past data that is historical. The flow of transactions is over. They don’t need to manage a system).
So, what we find now is that the new breed of accountants can handle a lot of change. Our entire Team are trained in systems analysis and problem solving.
However, for people on the ground at our clients, there are often people who have been stuck in the more traditional, routine nature of accounting. They can only handle so much change.
What we have found is that these changes really impact different people in varying ways.
We have learned that there are 7 Dynamics of change, and it is always great to remind ourselves of what our clients are experiencing as we go through these changes in systems…
Dynamic 1 – People will Feel Awkward, Ill at Ease and Self-Conscious
It is important to get that people whose day-to-day jobs are changing may be going through a lot of emotions. So we have to allow for some compassion.
One negative way that emotions can be expressed in some people is passive (and even active) resistance to the changes, the new systems being implemented.
Compassion for people going through various emotions is a good thing. However, stubborn, negative resistance has to be routed out quickly, as it can lead to big problems.
Resistance leads to self-fulfilling prophecies – they don’t believe in the new systems, so they unconsciously (and sometimes willfully) sabotage the changes/systems.
Dynamic 2 – People will Think About What They Have to Give Up
People hate giving up stuff, even when it’s bad for them (think addictions like sugar, you know it’s bad for you, but you like it!).
The best way is to show them, over and over, the benefits, and do it with a lot of passion and enthusiasm.
Dynamic 3 – People Will Feel Alone, Even If Everyone Else is Going Through the Same Change
This is always good to remember for ourselves when we think we are the only ones struggling with change.
Dynamic 4 – People Can Only Handle So Much Change
This is so critical. Even for those of us, who can handle a lot of change, we have our limits! Too much change can lead to severe stress.
Dynamic 5 – People Are At Different Levels of Readiness For Change
We have found, in doing conversions, that some people get really excited because they want the change – they quickly see the efficiencies that will be created for their work.
Others are afraid that the new efficiencies will make them redundant. For these people, we have to assure them that the new systems will need them, even at a higher level than they were working at before.
Dynamic 6 – People Will Be Concerned That They Don’t Have Enough Resources
We assure people – over and over – that we will be there for every step of the way to deal with and solve problems for them.
Dynamic 7 – When You Take The Pressure Off, People Will Tend to Revert to Their Old Behaviour
As a leader you must keep pressure on, however, it must be a kind, gentle sort of “pressure” as you go through the changes.
Pressure is important because people (we all do) slide back to old habits.
Think of how hard it is to give up an addiction (coffee, sugar, alcohol) and how it requires pressure in another direction to create new, beneficial habits.
Thanks for reading….