Developing the Accountancy Profession

IFAC & cloudThing’s PAO Digital Readiness Assessment Tool Part 5: Is Your PAO Developing Products & Services Efficiently?

cloudThing | April 14, 2021

IFAC recently teamed up with cloudThing to offer our membership a free Digital Readiness Assessment Tool that would assess an organization’s digital readiness ahead of a digital transformation project. The PAO Digital Readiness Assessment Tool has been designed to measure how digitally ‘mature’ an organization is, or where they already are on their individual digital transformation journey.

The Tool will be open for PAOs to complete from November 12, 2020, to April 30, 2021. During this time, IFAC's main objective is to help PAOs complete the tool and understand, interpret, and prioritize their results. The results, (after being thoroughly anonymized) will allow IFAC, working in conjunction with cloudThing, to assess the digital readiness of the accountancy profession as a whole and strategize future support.

The Digital Readiness Assessment Tool is broken down into 11 different pillars. So far, we have blogs covering the following sections:

  1. Culture & Capability;
  2. Vision & Strategy;
  3. Business Systems & Automation; and
  4. Talent Management

We recommend reading the previous articles before proceeding to Part 5 on Product and Service Developing.

PAO Digital Readiness Assessment Tool Part 5 – Products & Services Development 

The fifth pillar of the Digital Readiness Assessment Tool seeks to analyze, understand, and measure an organization’s ability to develop Products & Services that will be valued by its members, in a timely and cost-effective fashion. Specifically, this pillar seeks to understand and measure how well an organization is already doing this. 

The ‘end-goal’ of effective products & services development is to cultivate, maintain, and most importantly, increase an organization’s market share by satisfying its members’ (and potential members’) wants, needs, and requests.

The assessment focuses on measuring activities that are or need to be taken in moving an organization away from manual and administrative support and towards the automation of activities that can offer members a 24/7 service with the additional option to self-serve.

There are many key aspects of an organization’s products & services that can be improved through technology, such as: the introduction of a mechanism to collect members’ feedback, the automation and facilitation of committee functions, creating and managing content across an organization, and managing the product selection offered and its overarching pricing.

Effective implementation will lead to:

  • Improved membership attraction and retention.
  • Improved organizational reputation.
  • Greater support for a culture of innovation which, in turn, leads to an organization being competitive and resilient.
  • Increased membership engagement through new ways to interact and/or complete qualifications and CPD activity.

How Does Your Organization Track its Professional & Product Development?

Having effective tools and systems to measure your organization’s professional and product development is crucial as it helps to define, organize, manage, and publish membership products and competency development offerings to members.

Effectively managing those processes can:

  • Enable the organization to establish key offerings and value propositions for both prospective and existing members.
  • Assist the organization to continually improve, adapt, and evolve by empowering a culture of innovation.
  • Allow the organization to remain competitive and resilient.
  • Promote member retention by being responsive in its offerings, in-line with membership expectations and global trends.
  • Increase membership base engagement by providing new methods of professional growth and competency development via new and/or improved product offerings.

Efficient Management of an Organization’s Product Book and Pricing Structures

Progressing a true digital transformation means having the tools and systems in place to manage a product portfolio and the pricing rules and promotions of various membership offerings as cost-efficiently as possible. This can result in:

  • Active management of membership billing, rules, and procedures.
  • Precise definitions and tracking of custom rules and pricing exemptions.
  • A clear audit trail of changes made to configured rules.
  • Insights and trends into membership renewals.
  • Increased accuracy in the predictive modeling of membership product uptake.
  • Effective design and publication of various membership promotional schemes.

How Effective, Organized and Automated is your PAO’s Committee Management?

Committee management necessitates processes, platforms, and tools. How ready is your organization to recruit, onboard, and then run professional committees consisting of a wide variety of participants, including both internal employees and external members?

Having the latest committee management processes enables an organization to:

  • Facilitate focused compliance operations of committee functions.
  • Foster deeper engagement with members through integrated tooling, enabling secure information sharing.
  • Empower committees with the required tooling to conduct committee business efficiently.
  • Share committee outcomes and decisions within the appropriate community seamlessly.
  • Capitalize on trends to position themselves as pioneers with the formation and running of appropriate member structures quickly and agilely.
  • Advertise vacancies to relevant member audiences linked with committee membership tenures to ensure operational continuity.

How Is Your Organization Running its Qualification & Exam Production?

For a PAO, any digital transformation should include the identification of necessary competencies accompanied by appropriate tools and processes to support corresponding exam planning, setup, proctoring, execution, assessment, and publication of results. This will:

  • Establish the credibility of the organization-led competencies.
  • Provide an objective framework for competency development to members and candidates.
  • Enable the organization to manage end-to-end examination processes.
  • Allow the organization to support remote proctoring and online assessments.
  • Support effective examination planning, with the necessary test authoring to support it.
  • Foster membership engagement by providing both training and support to members taking examinations.
  • Permit the organization to apply predictive analyses to help plan for new exam venues and required capacity based on past trends.

How Advanced is your Organization’s Content Creation & Management?

Content management is a set of processes and technologies that supports the collection, management, and publishing of information/data/content. However, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems extend this concept by adding a timeline for each item and, possibly, enforcing processes for its creation, approval, and distribution. Systems using ECM generally provide a secure digital repository for managed items.

An ECM system is designed to manage unstructured data: documents are stored so that they are accessible to the right people at the right time. Content creation in the context of maintaining and updating websites typically refers to blogging, article writing, photography, videography, online commentary, the maintenance of social media accounts, and editing and distributing digital media.

ECMs are great for increasing productivity and efficiency by streamlining processes and removing wasted effort. They can also aggregate information that helps knowledge workers speed up their decision-making processes and facilitate collaboration by reducing siloed content and sharing it organization-wide.

To do this most effectively, organizations use Content Management Systems (CMS) to help them.

A CMS can provide a secure repository with a user-friendly interface for web publishing while also ensuring Role Based Access Control (RBAC) is followed and the appropriate review and approval processes are adhered to.

This enables non-developers to edit and upload content to websites while making room for the concurrency of user edits and actions. It can also streamline the scheduling of pre-prepared content, improve, and reduce time spent on-site maintenance and ensure site-wide design consistency.

Always Open Feedback: How Receptive is your Organization to Criticism?

Always Open Feedback is concerned with collecting, analyzing, and potentially actioning input from customers, employees, suppliers, vendors, and members regarding their experience, and satisfaction with an organization’s products and services.

If looked for and given in a timely way, this intelligence can help refine products and services offered and identify any customer service or operational issues promptly. The feedback collected could be either quantitative or qualitative.

Quantitative data is instrumental in providing a high-level view of overall satisfaction trends (against Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Effort Score (CES) metrics, for example), while qualitative helps to ‘tell a story’ and provide ‘color’ to the overall picture, with specifics relating to a particular event or interaction.  

Allowing room for this type of business intelligence in your digital transformation:

  • Provides valuable insights that help an organization improve its products and services.
  • Can make members feel valued and important, strengthening their relationship with a brand.
  • Can motivate employees and improve performance to empower them to make better, more informed decisions.
  • Permits for the continuous and proactive collection of feedback that will help an organization ensure its products and services are aligned to its business goals, strategies, and values.
  • Ensures the organization is continually improving its processes, services, and products by regularly reviewing and responding to feedback.

Complete Your Assessment!

Locate the email sent on behalf of IFAC Membership, with the subject line, "IFAC PAO Digital Readiness Assessment Tool Launch." Your organization's unique access link will be located within.

If you have any issues with registration, please contact support@baselined.app for assistance. 
If you cannot locate the email, please contact
membership@ifac.org.

Check out IFAC’s PAO Digital Transformation Series webpage which houses helpful resources, articles and videos on Digital Transformation and is regularly updated!

cloudThing, based in the UK, is a technology company that help organizations such as the British Red Cross, The South African Institute of Accountants, and the Institute of Chartered Accountants (England & Wales) to name but a few, digitally transform by taking advantage of the automation technology available to them on the cloud.

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