Holding on to your talent
Technology is one of the most complained about factors in small-to-medium businesses, and research shows it is one of the key reasons good staff will leave.
Management 101 will tell you that investing in anything that helps people to perform in their roles more effectively is always going to benefit staff retention.
"One of the biggest bug bears of employees is when the IT systems are down or it’s too slow, as it impacts on their ability to do their work and they get frustrated and it can lead to them becoming unhappy and leaving," said Elisa Nudelman, principal of human resources firm Inspire People Consulting.
"Having great systems and processes in place and ensuring employees’ working lives are more efficient also has positive impacts on the bottom line," she added.
For example, improving systems and increasing the level of automation within an accounting business reduces the level of "mind-numbing work – the really painful grunt work", according to Peter Knight, former CPA president and founding partner of Hayes Knight.
"This isn’t just about making sure the numbers are correct; it’s about thinking what other insights we can get from information that can help the client," he said.
"It certainly changes the level of the relationship with the client, but for the accountants, it’s also really good work and a lot of them get professional enjoyment from it which they probably aren’t if they’re just crunching out tax returns."
Speaking from personal experience, Superfund Wholesale director Kris Kitto believes it is easier to recruit "good-quality people" when you’ve got systems and processes in place which rely on effective systems and software.
"We've got the best we can possibly get across all aspects of the business. Whereas we’ve had people come to us saying, 'well I had to leave that business because it was like going back in time and using old systems that I used to use five years ago'," said Mr Kitto.
"So it really does help staff retention and recruitment having a good-quality IT infrastructure," Mr Kitto added. "It’s mandatory."