Chris James, Head of Accounting Operations at JSA, the leading provider of specialist accountancy, payroll and employment services to contractors and freelancers, has been shortlisted in the ‘Technology Champion’ category, in the Practice Excellence awards, run by AccountingWEB.
The annual Awards recognise and celebrate the excellence of accounting practices and individuals across the UK, with 8 categories that showcase the firms and individuals who are driving standards of excellence ever higher. The winners will be announced at the Practice Excellence Conference, which takes place on 24th September in London.
The judging panel for the Awards believe that the impact of technology on accounting practices has been profound, and is being driven by accountants who are willing to grab hold of the latest tools and apply them to the challenges firms and their clients are facing.
But the panel also noted the risks inherent in pursuing this enthusiasm. Practice technology consultant and PEA15 judge, Mark Ryan, said: “Technology has to be led by the business need. In one or two cases, I started to wonder if they really wanted to be accountants or programmers.”
AccountingWEB editor, John Stokdyk, added, “I focused on serving the client need. Key is being able to improve the client’s lives through the technology, not just using technology to sort out the firm’s internal issues.”
While some impressive achievements were presented, the judges in this category could have been swayed by more persuasive evidence from entrants of the impact their tech innovations had delivered. Chris James was one of three contenders who overcame this hurdle.
As Head of Accounting Operations, James has used technology to drive customer service at JSA during the past year. From the front-end white labelling of FreeAgent to deliver a best-in-class on-line experience to clients, to the integration of IRIS, FreeAgent, Qtac payroll, and CRM, James has championed technology to enable JSA to focus on the client, to be a truly outward-facing business, solving problems, rather than spending (and charging) time on back office operations.
Chris James said: “I’m delighted that my technology input at JSA has been acknowledged in this way by AccountingWEB. At JSA, our philosophy is to apply and integrate third party technologies rather than invest resources in bespoke, in-house systems – we leave that to the experts. As a result, we can stay ahead of the game by choosing best in class applications. I’m very much looking forward to the Practice Excellence Conference to find out the results!”