Lastest news

Technology is essential to keep Ireland in business

Jul 31, 2020

With many offices planning to work remotely until the end of the year, how can we maintain our connections with colleagues and clients? Anna Scally explains the critical role of technology in enabling clear communication to all stakeholders.

We have all been through a lot over the last five months. As accountants, many of us have participated in what has been dubbed the “largest working from home experiment”. While there have been speedbumps along the way and a lot of juggling done, most of us have been able to get on with work while working remotely. This has been made possible by our speedy adoption of certain technology tools, which enable us to function fully away from the office.

While technology has enabled most of us to do our jobs for many years, never before have we experienced the adoption of certain tools at such pace. In April, Zoom reported over 300 million daily active participants worldwide, a significant jump from its previous high of 10 million.

Tools like Zoom, Webex, Bluejeans, Microsoft Teams and others have allowed us to continue to connect with our colleagues and clients and, importantly, continue to meet compliance needs and deliver valuable advice to our clients. Speed of adoption of these platforms has been unprecedented. In KPMG Ireland, for example, we rolled out Microsoft Teams to all employees at breakneck speed at the start of the lockdown, and the rate of adoption has been breathtaking. In May alone, our 2,900 users logged 40,840 meetings and 98,900 hours on calls and video.

Moving forward

As we go into Q3, and as many of our offices move to re-open in a safe and socially distant way, technology will need to play a critical role. While a return to the office will be welcome, accountants will have to remain agile and flexible, and working from home will continue to play a part. Many companies, such as Google, have delayed their return to the office until 2021, while others have already started their phased return. Popular communication tools will continue to play an important part when working with clients and colleagues.

While email might be a handy way to send and receive messages, it isn’t always the most secure or efficient means of sharing documents and large files. If they haven’t already done so, companies – particularly SMEs – should ensure that they have access to suitable software for collaboration and sharing documentation. They must also ensure that they have a secure place to store and retrieve data and that they have the appropriate technologies to keep their networks safe and secure.

Also, business travel has been put on pause for the time being, in particular for clients in Europe, Asia and the US. International travel will not be an option for the rest of 2020, at least. Video conferencing tools will, therefore, play a significant role in enabling business across borders. It will also play a central role in reminding our clients and contacts that Ireland is still open for business.

Anna Scally is Partner and Head of Technology and Media at KPMG Ireland.