One step: The psychology behind small businesses adopting or delaying technology

Accountants and bookkeepers know all too well that small business owners who embrace technology enjoy more efficiency, flexibility and even profitability than those who don’t. Despite knowing the benefits, many small businesses are still slow to adopt technology.

At Xero, we sought to dive deeper into what’s truly holding them back. We’ve conducted a behavioural insights study that uncovers the human factors stopping small businesses from adopting more technology. The One step report surveyed more than 4,200 small business owners across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the United States, Canada, and Singapore. 

While the results differ across countries, industries and sizes – one thing is clear. Small businesses have a set of deeply ingrained beliefs about technology that influence their decision making. Our motivations are influenced by emotions, past experiences, and perception of the world. Behavioural science seeks to understand these factors so that we can start to address and overcome them with the right tools. 

The three mindsets of small business

The research surfaced three mindsets of small business owners when thinking about adopting new technology. As accountants and bookkeepers, you’ve likely heard one or all of these before when discussing new technology with clients.

  1. What I am doing is good enough, so I’d rather just stick with it
  2.  All I can see is risk and short-term losses
  3. It’s too hard to compare, understand and choose between all the options

It’s clear that the biggest hurdles to harnessing the benefits of technology for small businesses aren’t a lack of information or choice, but deeper anxiety and concern about how complex and costly the change process might be. The idea of adopting new technology feels deeply uncomfortable and even threatening. 

That’s where accountants and bookkeepers come in. This research presents an opportunity for you as trusted advisors to influence more rational decisions amongst your small business clients. Pair these brand new insights with your industry knowledge and expertise to help your clients take small steps towards embracing technology. You’ll both reap the benefits – from saving time, to having more engaged clients, leading to more informed decisions that drive their business forward.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the benefits of having clients who choose to digitalise their business. Your team spends less time cleaning up data and searching for information in different places, and more time having meaningful conversations with your clients. They become more engaged and curious about how to improve their business. This can lead to an incredible feeling of satisfaction seeing your clients have those ‘light bulb’ moments. – Read more

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