Collaboration Focus: Tips for establishing successful internal and external collaboration
Daniel Teacher from T-Tech looks at the common challenges that need to be considered and shares a few hacks to establishing successful internal and external collaboration, along with the pros and cons of digital collaborative working.
Typically, each department in an accountancy practice has its own way of working and communicating. The traditional accountancy practice is often hindered by a legacy of manual processes that are underpinned by outdated systems, and firms have become so used to having multiple systems and dissimilar processes that collaboration is a challenge and rarely exists in this environment. This leaves many accountants unaware of the ease and benefits of working in partnership.
As we advance further into the digital age, we have recognised that businesses want to attain an environment of productive teamwork, sustain a collaborative culture, and be secure and compliant, whilst ensuring their people have the right tools to do the job. This is apparent as the drive toward digitisation of core processes (such as personal tax, KYC, payroll etc.) is increasing within the sector.
New way of thinking
Here at T-Tech, we have adopted many collaborative behaviours and tools that allow us to work effectively and we would like to share with you a few of our hacks to establishing successful internal and external collaboration, along with the pros and cons of digital collaborative working.
We focus around digital collaboration due to the flexible and agile working it brings:
- Simplify collaboration with Microsoft Teams; everything in one place so you never have to leave!
- Utilise video team meetings / group chats about specific clients / share ideas and documents within departments
- Use the fully integrated phone system within Teams to host normal phone calls through this collaboration hub
- Develop custom made channels based on specific work streams, i.e. ‘community’ channel is an all staff forum for everyone to give company updates, or share ideas on areas for improvement
- Shared workspace means multiple people can work on documents at the same time and it’s all saved centrally. Ease of collaborating on documents makes a huge difference to time saved in the day.
We encourage our clients to adopt these tools, as we know how effective they are: –
- Video and voice conferencing with clients as a way of showing them the best technology available, and how much time/money can be saved
- Sharing documents and decks with clients via a simple link
- Teaming up with like-minded peers to encourage collaboration across the sector, i.e. at events, online forums, group meetings
There are evidently a wide range of internal and external collaboration practices that really put collaboration and communication at the heart of our working day. It used to be the case that gathering the team for a business meeting meant sitting in a meeting room, in an office, with a notepad and pen. But times are changing, and people merit more agile, flexible, and modern ways of working.
Collaboration at the heart
There are of course pros and cons to adopting a complete digital collaborative working practice, but we are certain the pros outweigh the cons.
- Allows for remote, agile, and flexible working which are all becoming more of a requirement for employees
- No more trawling through emails. Collaborative tools will reduce your time spent on email.
- Visibility across different departments and different members of staff, ultimately improve communication and relations between teams
- Working collectively on tasks drives productivity and performance
- Old fashioned practices, i.e. face to face meetings with pen & paper note taking, are being scraped. The demand for efficient and time well spent meetings, means you can spend time on giving back to your clients
- Face to face meetings are depleting, so an element of human interaction is lost. Many practices will find this difficult until they learn about the other options available to them
- Not easy knowing which tools are best and at which cost. Not all collaboration is effective
- Collaboration is fast pace, and it’s sometimes hard to keep up
The workplace shouldn’t be a difficult place for teamwork and collaboration – essentially you just want the tools that work in the same way that you do. The growing collaborative culture brings a lot of positive change, which will go a long way in the accountancy sector, who are slowly starting to understand this will be their future. T-Tech are pleased to see a lot of firms adopting many of these tools, and we hope that practices will soon recognise the long-term effects these advancements will bring.