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Fullscope Blog

A real-world look at digital transformation.

Digital Transformation a Threat to Professional Services or a Passage to Profitability?

By Daniel Spurr | November 29, 2017

One of the prevailing narratives trailing the incoming tidal wave of Industry 4.0 technology is the threat to Professional Services, and the level of future staffing. It was recently predicted by US-based consultancy, Opimas, that financial services was likely to lose 230,000 jobs by 2025, and asset management would fare much worse with the loss of 90,000 jobs during the same period. Is the growing fear of the Industry 4.0 ‘invasion’ preventing senior principals at law practices and accountancy firms, for example, from even trying to chart a passage through the perceived treacherous digital waters ahead?

Reduce overall staffing and ongoing recruitment burden 

Debate appears to be constantly focused on the negative outcomes of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and the capability for programmed algorithms to replicate sentient human behaviour. Algorithms can now analyse financial data, prepare accounts as well as tax returns - which can be officially checked by using big data and machine learning. Reversing the spyglass might bring into focus a more practical channel for a more forward –looking response to the necessity for urgent action.

Investing in new generation CRM technology and upskilling for operational agility and efficiency will contribute to reducing overall staffing and any ongoing recruitment burden. The breaking down of traditional departmental and geographical silos aims to create faster, interconnected organisational communications with clients at all touchpoints, resulting in a boost to bottom-line revenues.  The latest Edgewater Fullscope whitepaper reports on recently calculated cost savings in recruiting professional services staff. Download here.

Revenue possibilities of customer service interactions 

Even the most long standing of traditional professional services firms sense the strengthening headwinds of digital transformation. Today’s new class of executive practitioners can readily see how to maximise the revenue possibilities of customer service interactions and experiences, increasingly demanded in both B2C and B2B environments.  

Many professional services in the practice of law and accounting and have already undergone standardisation followed by systematisation, which has led to the implementation of centralised corporate IT and process management. Industry 4.0 technologies also offer opportunities in the delivery of data, information and expertise at end user touchpoints of on-demand interaction.

Reduce timelines involved in routine tasks

Digitised technologies can already enable professional services to reduce timelines involved in routine tasks, which is increasingly important to today’s instant delivery time expectations. Nevertheless, clients of professional services will continue to demand traditional human engagement in the provision of key judgement skills, such as business growth forecasting, financial data interpretation, and discussing the complex tax implications of managing wealth or business assets. Digitised transformation can enable an improved focus on the higher value client tasks.

There are clear all-round benefits of reduced staffing. Fewer routine, entry-level functions, and more roles focused on creative thinking and analysis, can eliminate the all too pervasive ‘dead time’, and naturally lead to greater business efficiency and profitability. The latest Edgewater Fullscope whitepaper provides further insight into the real costs of recruitment and training of salaried staff. Download here.

About Daniel Spurr


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