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Hot topics and takeaways: Alternative Accountancy Management Summit and Strategic IT Conference

Our Alternative Accountancy Management Summit and Strategic IT Conference brought together senior practitioners, executives, and tech specialists from leading accountancy firms for three days of lively discussion, tech demos, and practical workshops around the key issues, challenges, and tech trends in the accountancy world – from what the new generation expects from their careers, through to the benefits and risks of generative AI. 


  1. Many accountancy firms see generative AI (gen AI) as both an enabler and a threat to their business.
  2. The challenge of locating client data that is spread across multiple systems can impact client service.
  3. The right DMS and task management tech are key to employee efficiency, and accountancy staff retention.

Generative AI — enabler or threat?

The Strategic IT Conference kicked off with a keynote address by Dave Coplin, CEO of The Envisioners. His topic was something that everyone is talking about, across all industries – generative AI (gen AI). Coplin talked about the huge potential of generative AI in helping solve practical business problems, and how accountancy practices, in particular, could ensure the successful and safe use of the technology. 

Coplin also considered the benefits of generative AI. Many attendees were ambivalent about it, seeing it as both a benefit and a risk: although 47 percent saw it as an enabler to their firm, 52 percent saw it as both a threat and an enabler to the firm.

statistics re: AI

iManage is working to ensure that it leverages the benefits of generative AI for its customers while minimising the risks. The company recently announced that, in 2024, it will focus on innovating its knowledge work platform with AI for solutions such as information retrieval, contract summarization, and email management.

Digital transformation and modernising the firm

Alongside the buzz around AI and gen AI, digital transformation is still a hot topic amongst accountancy firms — and it needs to be ongoing. If firms want to keep up with practice in an agile world, the right tech is essential. When it comes to digital transformation, the vast majority of firms (73%) in attendance said that they were undergoing projects in 2024 and 2025. Furthermore, 88 percent said that they had increased investment in IT systems and services in 2024 and 2025 in order to future proof and modernise their firm.


Client service and accessing information

Another tech-related challenge that is faced by accountancy practices is not having a reliable central source to easily access client information — something that can negatively impact client service and, ultimately, client satisfaction. When it came to their ability to find and access client data, almost half (42%) of attendees said that this data was spread across multiple systems and that it was a challenge to find all the information. However, a similar figure (39%) said that although their data was also held across multiple systems, it was reasonably accessible and available. 

Of course, accessibility should also come with enhanced security. The iManage document management system not only provides a central source for client matters but also tracks usage and ensures that accountants store critical client documents only in iManage Work. And compliance with client-driven security standards is assured by the AI-driven iManage Threat Manager, which automatically protects sensitive client matters by detecting and alerting the appropriate persons of any suspicious behaviour as soon as it materialises.

The role of tech in attracting and retaining talent

There was a lot of discussion at the conference about accountancy as a profession — and how it will adapt in line with the expectations of a new generation of accountants. Tech is undoubtedly a big part of both attracting and keeping talent. Seventy-nine percent of attendees said that, for their practices, implementing best-in-class systems and updating their IT systems was key to attracting and retaining the best talent

A DMS like iManage Work is a good example of a tool that can enhance employees’ working practices and enable them to work remotely — making them want to stay with the firm. The platform is cloud-based and mobile-first, allowing for efficient and secure collaboration from anywhere, from any device. iManage Tracker, a task and workflow management tool, organises tasks and content without forcing employees to switch inefficiently between tasks. In addition, there’s the Integration with Microsoft Power Automate, which enables low-code automation of content-centric processes to streamline workflows — fancy language for automating repetitive tasks and processes while keeping client and other files secure.

Both conferences provided attendees with many ideas and solutions to take back to their firms, and a deeper understanding of the trends and issues facing accountancy practices. iManage continually updates its DMS in line with these trends and issues – ensuring that its features enable the platform to enhance accountancy firms’ knowledge and matters while enabling flexibility, security, and ease of collaboration.


The survey sponsor, iManage, is one of the most popular knowledge work platforms for accountancy firms of any size. Their cloud-based document management system is renowned for being both secure and customisable – helping accountancy practices improve client and business outcomes in a rapidly evolving world. 

About the author

Emily Jenkins

Making Knowledge Work

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