Investments in Technology
How do you ensure a return on an investment in technology?
We’ve all heard the saying, “You have to spend money to make money.” And that’s often true. But the idea sometimes leads business owners into purchases that are not necessary and don’t produce an appropriate return on the investment – especially when it comes to technology. A lot of tax practices are sinking money into unnecessary technology and finding it to be and expense they could have done without.
When to Buy…
Technology changes every day. But that doesn’t mean you have to upgrade with each new development. Business owners generally plan to replace hardware, such as desktop computers, on a regular basis. That’s a good idea. But, determining when to upgrade shouldn’t always be based solely on a specific time frame. For example, don’t just decide to buy new computers every three years. Instead, determine when the features of a new computer are relevant to help your office be more productive and more efficient and upgrade then. In other words, make the investment when it makes the most sense, not just when you’ve made a note on your calendar.
Before You Buy…
When you’re looking to buy a new piece of technology – be it a new computer, printer, network server, and even software – don’t get lost in the maze of features available. Focus on what you need. The rest is just extras and shouldn’t really be factored into your decision as they are often features you will never use. For example, when you’re shopping for software, look for something all-inclusive. That way, you’ll receive all the bells and whistles without being nickeled and dimed. And, you will eliminate the risk of finding out you have to buy a separate module/add-on for each new task you’re hoping to accomplish.
After You Buy…
An almost-guaranteed means of ensuring the desired return on your technology investment is to train your staff to use your new equipment, software, etc. to its fullest potential. The time it takes to train your staff will provide for a more efficient office, saving your company both time and money. Plus, it gives your clients a feeling of confidence when your staff knows the ins and outs of the office and the profit earned by customer retention is hard to beat.
So, when you’re looking for a return on your technology investment, focus on what you need and how to use it. Don’t waste time and money on a laundry list of features you many never use. And train your team so that the goals you have set for yourself and your firm can be met at the lowest cost with the greatest return.