Many SMEs have been slow to embrace new technology. Warda Hassan Ahmed FCCA offers tips on how professional accountants can drive this change forward!

Technology has disrupted organisations of all sizes, but there is continued concern that many SMEs are not making the most of digital technology. According to a Deloitte report, this applied to 80% of US SMEs.

ACCA’s report Scale-up success says 40% of SMEs are likely to embrace new technology in the next year, while Deloitte reports that 23% are planning to adopt in the next five to 10 years.

So why have SMEs been slow to act?

SME owners are often unaware of how adopting new technology can help their business. Some are just happy with the status quo. Others fear change, seeing technologies as irrelevant or ineffective, without having evaluated the benefits.

Learn more about SMEs and digitalisation, here!

The disruption of Covid-19 may prove a catalyst for change. As trusted advisers, professional accountants are well placed to guide the business through digital transformation. Here are some actions to consider.

  • Evaluate current performance, looking at critical success factors, key performance indicators, balanced scorecard, etc, and note areas for improvement.
  • Define or remind others of the organisation’s purpose and vision, and think strategically when identifying the objective of the proposed investment in technology.
  • Develop a business case for the investment, identifying the various benefits for different users. The benefits should be measurable (financially and non-financially) and progress monitored. Outline the investment costs (including recurring costs) and the risks. After implementation, review continuously.
  • Communicate the plan to all – getting commitment and engagement is vital.

Some centralised digital support is important; for example, networking and mentoring initiatives can help SMEs embrace change. Given the significant contribution, SMEs make to the economy, the competitive advantage gained will be for the benefit of all.

This article is in partnership with the ACCA.