Change Management

Is the fear of change paralysing UK finance departments?

The CFO Research Report by iplicit analysts looks into the barriers to changing accounting software, revealing that over a quarter of UK finance decision-makers would be unlikely to change their accounting software provider even if they could achieve ROI in less than 12 months.

The sizable survey, commissioned by accounting software provider iplicit, sought the opinion of 1,000 UK-based finance decision-makers working in organisations that employ between 50 and 500 employees.  

It investigated how finance decision makers plan, manage, and deliver the finance function in their business, specifically looking at the perceived barriers to changing accounting software, their experience of changing accounting systems, current processes and future priorities. 

The report has highlighted that legacy accounting software that many businesses are tied into, even when migrated to the cloud, fails to provide the flexibility required by today’s businesses. 

Even more galling for mid-sized companies is that many smaller businesses, that can get away with using an entry-level solution, can enjoy the benefits of true cloud software, albeit without the full set of features they need as they grow.

Paul Sparkes, Commercial Director, iplicit

Paul Sparkes, Commercial Director at iplicit says, “Running a modern finance function involves much more than ensuring smooth month-end processes. Finance decision-makers need to carefully weigh up the pros of changing to a true cloud accounting software, vs the cons of sticking with an incumbent – which may lead to a realisation that there is actually nothing to fear about changing providers.” 

From the ability to upload expenses to drilling down through reports to gain access to specific information, extending the accounting solution outside finance is a fundamental step to improve insight, control and timely decision-making, all the while reducing the burden on the core finance team.  

Encouragingly, however, two-thirds of UK finance decision-makers (66%) would be willing to switch accounting software providers in 2023 if they can achieve a return on investment in under 12 months. 

Sparkes continues, “Whilst in part these results offer reassurance that there is an appetite from UK finance decision-makers to take proactive steps and secure the best accounting software, it also highlights a fear about what changing accounting software providers actually involves.  

This makes me question just how many organisations have been tied into lengthy contracts that will take years to see any return on investment!" 

Earlier results released from the research revealed that the top three reasons why UK finance decision-makers are hesitant to change accounting systems are losing historical data (14%), the cost of having to pay for a Right To Use (RTU) licence in order to access historical data (12%) and being too expensive (11%).  

“The onus is very much with accounting software providers to illustrate exactly how their technology will improve operations, generate savings and support staff and customers alike – while positively impacting the bottom line,” concludes Sparkes. 

View the full results of the independent market research in the report titled: ‘A study into how to overcome the barriers of moving to a true cloud accounting system’.