Recently I spoke to the Texas Society of CPAs (TSCPA). A friend had passed this opportunity along to me, given my geographic position. The topic was Tech Toolbox and was your standard hot geek-stuff presentation to a solo/small firm crowd. I covered everything from cool gadgets, to hosted software applications.
My first observation came from an audience response. They wondered why someone from a law firm was talking to them about technology. Once I got into the subject matter though, it became apparent they are likely behind the solo/small firm lawyer crowd with technology. This became apparent went I asked the barometer question: “Who knows what metadata is?” With lawyers I get about 40% hands-up these days. With this group – 2 hands out of 60. There were some exceptions to this case, especially when it came to securing communications. But overall, I would put this group behind its lawyer equivalent demographic.
Why should we care?
In a flattening market, competition for legal services comes from many places. The top one cited is usually accountants. Although I am personally more concerned about banks, I suppose lawyers can find some comfort knowing their closest competitors fall behind them in technology (but only in the small firm category).
I wouldn’t suggest using this as a reason to sit back and relax. Keeping up with change is an imperative in any business these days. This may be one area where accountants should take a chapter from the solo/small firm lawyer playbook.