AIT April 2023 feature

Originally featured in AIT.

As the war for talent continues, accounting firms are having to do more with less: less resources, less time, and less budget. This puts increasing pressure on existing teams to become more productive and streamline their processes. However, many firms have missed a trick. As they’ve grown, often their tech has struggled to keep up, leaving employees burdened with unnecessary admin which restricts their efficiency and often leads to burnout.  

One key role that’s suffered as a result of tech stagnation, is that of a resource manager. 

Resource managers play a pivotal role in a firm, they are responsible for scheduling resources to client bookings which ultimately drives project performance and profitability. Without adequate technology to help resource managers optimally utilize a firm’s most valuable (and expensive) resource – their people – client satisfaction and bottom lines will suffer. 

So what about automation? New technology with automation is out there and whilst some firms are driving this forward, there is still fear and reluctance from many. The reasons for this are varied, including time and/or budget constraints, as well as some age-old misconceptions that we disagree with – the main one being that it will replace jobs. We challenge this because we understand that automation’s power is in taking the administrative onus away from existing employees, reviving their job, and driving firm performance in the process. We’ve seen firms like Moore Kingston Smith invest in automation and achieve significant firm-wide benefits. In the next section, we explore the reasons to embrace automation in resource management.

3 key reasons automation is reviving not replacing your resource managers

1. Automation elevates your resource management processes by replacing inefficient manual scheduling with streamlined, automated processes

Resource management practices are at the crux of workforce planning strategy. A resource manager’s ability to evolve these practices and adapt to meet the needs of people and clients will ultimately dictate a firm’s business performance. A streamlined, automation-led, process can:

  • Provide complete visibility of resources with centralized resourcing
  • Optimize resource plans with utilization metrics
  • Maintain consistent quality standards with project controls 

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2. Automation delivers more strategic impact and value by enabling resource managers to be more agile and proactive

Resource management can and should be honed as a strategic discipline. Powered by automation, resource managers are encouraged to drop unnecessary admin and focus on thinking strategically. Automation, in the form of automated warnings and alerts, allows resource managers to: 

  • Forecast capacity and proactively flag projects at risk
  • Pivot resource plans to meet changing demands or resolve clashes
  • Mitigate regulatory risks by reducing opportunities for error

3. Automation improves people’s working lives by maximising their potential whilst crucially avoiding burnout

There is a growing need for firms to be more sustainable, people focused, and forward thinking to continue to win business and talent. Effective resource management with skilful resource managers allows a firm to support retention and offer rewarding careers. Automation in resource management can: 

  • Remove selection bias and accelerate diversity with suitability scoring 
  • Identify skill shortages and therefore development opportunities with highly configurable reports
  • Curb burnout with utilization metrics

As firms become more strategic with their technology investments, it should be recognised that automation is more than maximising efficiency and productivity, it’s an investment in both people and the future of the firm. With attracting talent a prevailing issue, firms must invest in automation to retain existing employees or risk further capacity issues. 

Automation is a long-term strategy which needs ample communication about its benefits to ensure successful adoption and overall return on investment. Rather than an add-on to your existing practices, automation must be designed alongside (and evolve with) a firm’s resource management processes. With three levels of automated scheduling at Dayshape, resource managers can build trust in automation over time. Whether your firm wants more automation or is ready to take its first steps, Dayshape has options to suit. Discover more about our automation by watching our on-demand webinar. 

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